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Reader Comments (101)

Posted: Mar 11th 2012 8:23AM moakh said

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Every game has more than enough solo content in my opinion. The trick is not to force people into group content, but make it a viable and worthwile alternative.
I like to think back to Anarchy Online, where you could level faster in a group. With a good group composition you had tons of buffs availlable to increase the strength of your characters. And the group leveld up when it stayed together long enough. You got more XP from kills and better loot, the longer you played together as a group. That was a lot of fun.
What I like to see is more progression for group players, to encourage group play, like mentoring or any type of currency in game that can be acquired by group play.
A lot of developers tackle aging group content in games by trivializing it and making it solo-able. Why not introduce incentives like mentoring and additional character progression for veteran players to revisit this content and help newer players so that anybody can experience it at is was intended? I think I might be sketching my personal MMO utopia here and it does contradict the modern way of cash shop driven MMO design, but hell, this should be what a _multiplayer_ game is about, shouldn't it?

Posted: Mar 11th 2012 8:34AM Sephirah said

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The majority of posters here will say "It's a MMORPG, you need to group!"
The majority of players (that don't care to post on MMORPG sites) will merrily continue to solo.

Posted: Mar 11th 2012 8:38AM Seffrid said

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Oh dear, here we go again. If unable to think of anything new to write then churn out the old group versus solo chestnut! Oh well, I'll bite.

All MMOs should offer a complete range of options including solo, small group, full group and raid. Not all content needs to be accessible to all playstyles, but the game needs to be sufficiently viable in an enjoyable way to cater for all playstyles throughout the game.

Once a player is forced to adopt a playstyle (even if it is one he enjoys) - for some it's solo, for others it's group, and at endgame it may be a choice of raid or PvP - then he or she will very likely be gone from the game. Players may prefer to do one thing or the other but they don't want to be told that's what they have to do, and of course some players don't enjoy a particular playstyle and therefore it is not an effective option for them anyway.

Maximum choice, maximum playerbase, maximum revenue - that should be every developer's mantra unless they are purely interested in running an indie niche game that really does aim only for one small part of the market.

Posted: Mar 11th 2012 9:07AM smartstep said

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@Seffrid

THIS x 100


One IMPORTANT NOTE IMHO.

This should apply to OPEN WORLD AS WELL.


Closing all or almost all group content into instances is BAD DESIGN.
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 8:39AM EuchridEucrow said

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Non-forced, incentive driven grouping.

Posted: Mar 11th 2012 8:41AM Bolongo said

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Jean-Paul Sartre had it right: hell is other people.

I'm on the side that says core content should always be possible to solo. Group content is fine as an option but forced grouping is anathema.

Posted: Mar 11th 2012 5:24PM (Unverified) said

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@Bolongo And the purpose of playing online is...?

I don't disagree completely, but the overused argument still stands. If you're playing an online game, and potentially paying a monthly fee to support servers (and let's be honest, you're choosing to play a game with oftentimes inferior gameplay to single-player options), why would you play alone? Does anyone sign up for Facebook to keep a personal journal?

Forced grouping is a nono, but I see no problem with making group-only content, so long as there is solo-only content. It's just harder to make "solo-only" content when you can group up and make it trivial. At least, it's harder without excessive instancing, which tends to be decried more often than not.
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 7:07PM Bolongo said

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@(Unverified) The purpose of playing online is, as someone pointed out in a thread further down, to socialize. And that is not necessarily the same thing as grouping. In fact, the way a traditional MMO handles grouping is more conducive to anti-social behavior. ;)
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 7:24PM (Unverified) said

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@Bolongo A solid point. And someone else in this mess of comments mentioned that an MMO community tends to thrive less on "group content" (being the set-group-size dungeons and raids or PVP), and more on communal content. If there are more ways for players to interact without relying on individuals who are inherently self-serving, the community grows better, and people are inclined to be less aloof. In-game economies and large contribution-focused events have been used to great effect.

In other words, you're right.
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 9:07PM (Unverified) said

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@Bolongo

I would tend to agree with that. Forced grouping with strangers... Can be quite trying... OTOH, grouping with friends and guildmates you've made over time is usually a good thing.
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Posted: Mar 12th 2012 5:18AM Vunak said

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@(Unverified)
FFXI would like a word. It was almost completely forced group content and had the best community of any game predating and preceding it. Ask any FFXI player and they will tell you the same, regardless of previous MMO's being played.

Truth is, nobody has experienced a true flawpess grouping mechanic unless you have played FFXI. That is the reason that game did so well and had such a great community.

Pro grouping.
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Posted: Mar 12th 2012 3:49PM Borick said

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@(Unverified) Socialization doesn't have to mean 'sports-like teamwork'. In fact, most human social activities are non-competitive. Group browsing, shopping, building... and these social group activities are hardly mentioned when group-centric MMO arguments are made.

I love grouping, if it's my choice. I do not play games to be on a sports team. I play them to escape -- sometimes alone, oftentimes with a friend or three.

One thing that bugs me is the lack of DUO content. Throughout my MMO playing history most of my preferred groups have been me and one other person. It seems that all group games need to support duoing content more than large sports-like team play.
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 9:09AM Valdur said

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Nowadays MMOs have been converted into a solo walk from beginning to max level but where it hurts is that most players have been playing solo for so long that they don't know how to play/interact their classes with others in group play.

I"m not against solo play but game developers should encourage players to group by getting more xp and reaching goals faster than playing solo.GW2 is doing it right same with TERA with their BAMs.

Posted: Mar 11th 2012 9:14AM Traptz said

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While questing I shouldn't have to depend on anyone. In fact I had depending on people while questing. It usually results in a waste of my time and a very awkward chat box.

So..don't make me do group quests to finish this part of the story.

Posted: Mar 11th 2012 9:22AM krakead said

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I ditched SWTOR because I couldn't complete a key class quest on my own. I tried and died so many times it was beyond a joke. I like grouping up when I'm in the mood and, more importantly, have the time to do it without having to bail halfway through and let down everyone else. But I want to be able to do this when *I* choose, and certainly not to progress a storyline quest.

Posted: Mar 11th 2012 10:06AM Traptz said

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@krakead

Where you a healer? That is the only excuse for not being able to complete a class quest without you being just terrible. Sorry, it's the truth.

I leveled an Inquisitor(healer) and a BH(Merc) to 50 and didn't have a single problem with any quests. Hell, even some H4's I could solo.

You probably didn't use your companions and abilities properly.
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 10:06AM Traptz said

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@Traptz

Were not Where*
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 10:51AM Shirvington said

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@krakead You can take fellow players with you on class quests. In the case of this particularly difficult quest, did you seek assistance from your guild or from the planet you were on? Did you try leveling up once or twice and trying again?

I remember the only extremely difficult class quest I faced was called "The Lightspring," and it was a smuggler quest. You had to defeat TWO elite mobs at once, and one was a healer. Took me multiple tries to accomplish, but the sense of achievement when I figured out a strategy that worked was intense.
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 11:31AM rgolch said

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@krakead

just out of interest, which class mission. I had a really hard one early on as an operative (Greystar) that I just simply outleveled to complete. you can even leave the planet and come back.

As far as grouping, it shouldn't be required. Most of the time I'm on, I'm soloing. But grouping is the essense of MMO's, and everything I do solo is working toward those times I group. There is just nothing sweeter than a fast running, ass-kicking group with perfect synergy.
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Posted: Mar 11th 2012 11:54AM (Unverified) said

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@Traptz

That's an idiotic comment. Most people who are leveling as a healer are finding it easy, it's usually when people DON'T have a healing companion or can't heal that they have problems. That's more to not using all their available abilities, but it's definitely NOT because they leveled as pure healer.
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