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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Enjoy Grouping?

Posted by MikeB Sunday January 13 2013 at 9:29PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Do you enjoy grouping up?" by Enerzeal. A simple enough thread, Enerzeal polls the community on their stance on grouping in MMOs:

This is a very simple thread, and at the same time one that will no doubt baffle me. The question is simple, do you like to group up, or do you prefer to stick to yourself in an MMO? 

Sub question - Do you get involved with guilds beyond guild benefits, when I say benefits I mean EXP increasees, drop rate bonuses etc, not the bonuses of having a group of raiders/people you know and can play with well.

SwampRob enjoys grouping, but with one caveat:

I like grouping up only if it's entirely optional.   By that I mean not just content.   If there are tangible benefits to my character's power for being in a guild, then I consider that mandatory.

"You can't attempt this task unless you have at least X friends with you..." is my most hated statement in MMOs.

If I group up because the game demands it, them I'm resentful the entire time I'm in that group.   That's bound to make me more irritable and less welcoming of others.

I can determine my willingness to even attempt a new game with two questions:

1.  Is PvP optional?   If not, I'm gone.

2.  Is there forced grouping?   If yes, I'm gone.

Czanrei is a bit old school (and proud!):

Call me traditional, but I enjoy grouping because its an MMO, not a single-player video game. I cannot stand the direction modern devs are going with making soloing optional and even going so far to allow players to join multiple guilds. 

greenreen clearly falls into the solo camp:

Not really.

There are enough reasons that I could make a 14+ page PDF on it.

As you notice, I'm on a forum instead of being in a chatroom talking about it. Distinct proof that I want to come and go as I please and not be forced to interact or entertain during silence when I can do other things like have this video on in the background and my code up that I can switch back and forth from.

I'm a social creature, so yes, I thoroughly enjoy grouping. Oftentimes when I play an MMO (or any game really) my favorite thing to do is to share the experience with others. If there's potential for all this cool stuff to happen in these games, what's the point without anyone to share it with? Generally, this means I play with friends nowadays. At the same time, I do thoroughly enjoy meeting new people in MMOs and going on adventures with them.

Unfortunately, grouping in most contemporary MMOs often only happens when all parties involved have some sort of selfish motivation to do so. The game is forcing you to do it to get through X Y or Z, for example. When I first played Star Wars Galaxies, there were a whole host of things I could do solo if I felt like it. But if I wanted to go on some truly epic adventures, say, to Ft. Tusken, I'd have to join a party,. The difference is that doing Ft. Tusken itself was entirely optional, so everyone there was really just there for the fun of it and potential for gobs of experience. When the game naturally encourages (but doesn't force) players to group, I find the potential for a positive group experience to be much greater.

How do you feel about grouping up in MMOs? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Telondariel writes:

My first MMO was EQ. Grouping was integral to the gaming experience, and it was very community building. Many friendships were made while sitting down waiting for mana to regen. At that time, I was playing a wizard, and after some time I learned a very painful lesson: wizards in the higher levels were only desired in raids. So, after level 50 the groups really thinned out for me and I had to solo when I logged in. This taught me not to rely on others for my online leveling and enjoyment of the game.

After that, in any game I chose to play, I always went my own way and did my own thing. And, you know what? I was happier. I could do what I wanted, and when, without wasting an hour looking for a group.    Now, I log in and I feel immense freedom. 

Oh, I do group from time to time, but I'm definitely a soloist now. And no, I would not be happier playing a single player console game. I am very much involved as a participant in my online game, helping others and doing this and that. I love being a part of vibrant fantasy world shared by thousands of people. I just prefer to run into the wilds, or explore the depths of a dungeon on my own, at my pace.

Sun Jan 13 2013 10:08PM Report
Telondariel writes:

My first MMO was EQ. Grouping was integral to the gaming experience, and it was very community building. Many friendships were made while sitting down waiting for mana to regen. At that time, I was playing a wizard, and after some time I learned a very painful lesson: wizards in the higher levels were only desired in raids. So, after level 50 the groups really thinned out for me and I had to solo when I logged in. This taught me not to rely on others for my online leveling and enjoyment of the game.

After that, in any game I chose to play, I always went my own way and did my own thing. And, you know what? I was happier. I could do what I wanted, and when, without wasting an hour looking for a group.    Now, I log in and I feel immense freedom. 

Oh, I do group from time to time, but I'm definitely a soloist now. And no, I would not be happier playing a single player console game. I am very much involved as a participant in my online game, helping others and doing this and that. I love being a part of vibrant fantasy world shared by thousands of people. I just prefer to run into the wilds, or explore the depths of a dungeon on my own, at my pace.

Sun Jan 13 2013 10:08PM Report
Classicstar writes:

One of few mmo's that has grouping right is Asheron's call 2.

Re- launched in 2012 december in beta now !!!

Im playing AC2 sinds last 3 weeks and ive been grouping sinds day one and majority of server those same with 9 player fellowship it works perfect never a problem with classes you get a healer/dps/tank and other 6 places filled with classes normally would not be invited alot.

Great grouping game!

Sun Jan 13 2013 10:30PM Report
Mavek writes:

I think the solo gamer ruined mmo's. It upsets me that there are single player rpg's for a reason and also mmo's to play with others. Honestly I would not play an mmo without others because the gameplay is usually subpar to single player games.

 

Morrowind had better combat than WoW does and it came out in 2002.  I find it strange that people would enjoy playing a multiplayer game alone. Not to say its wrong but I think the solo gamer has caused mmo's to feel too empty

Mon Jan 14 2013 1:29AM Report
Drakaden writes: I share SwampRob's tastes about soloing/grouping and guild benefits, the thing that made me grow into an individualistic person over time is the huge amount of bad pugs, you often encounter very dumb or irritable people, making you want to just go on your own way, i like my solo experiences, i feel comfortable, i learn, then when i'm amongst people i like to party with, i can share the experience with them. Mon Jan 14 2013 1:40AM Report
Alberel writes:

I honestly don't understand why anyone would play an MMO and yet not want to group... just go play a single player game then and let the rest of us enjoy this genre for what it was originally intended.

Also as an FYI 'optional' grouping always inevitably becomes 'no grouping'. If players have the option to solo that is all they will ever do, because it gives them more freedom and flexibility... I always hate the argument that those of us who like grouping should be happy because it is 'optional'. If it is optional it generally means there is never a community of players to actually group with...

Mon Jan 14 2013 1:41AM Report
nate1980 writes:

My first and second games were DAOC and SWG. So naturally, my beginnings in this genre revolved around grouping. It wasn't forced grouping, rather it was encouraged. The game mechanics is what encouraged it. Soloing in those games meant that you had to stop and rest after 1 or 2 pulls. Grouping allowed you to tackled higher level monsters and make more pulls before resting due to the differing class abilities that help with regeneration. My best experiences in this genre were in games like that, where people grouped almost all the time.

However, after WoW came out and the community got used to soloing, so did I. I still prefer to group, but the community isn't the same anymore. Most people will only group for group content. I usually find good groups, but since there's no downtime, we never socialize. It's always a rush to finish the dungeon or quest. Also, you sometimes get rude people, ninja looters, and incompetent players. Something I never experienced in those older games. Grouping with people like that has a way of sobering you towards grouping.

I'd also like to mention that I have less patience for waiting for groups. I'd rather go solo than wait 20-30 minutes to find a group for a particular quest or dungeon. That's why I do approve of the Dungeon Finder tools. That way I'm not standing around doing nothing for long periods of time, and will get my group when I get it.

Mon Jan 14 2013 5:06AM Report
Tanemund writes:

Personally, I like grouping.  I like meeting new people in real life and I carry that sentiment into my gaming.

 

I get both sides of the argument.  I played DAoC as my first MMO and grouping there was pretty much mandatory.  It wasn't said, but if you wanted to hit the level cap before you blew your brains out in frustration then you had to group.  That went double at the highest levels (40 to 50).

 

Now I know everyone waxes nostalgic about how relationships formed during those down times, but I have to be honest here.  Down time was for Bio Breaks, Smoke Breaks or refilling the water glass.  Half of the people were AFK and the other half were complaining about the half that was AFK.  I really don't remember a lot of chatting going on during break time.  During the pulls there wasn't a lot of chatting going on either. 

 

Now with that said what it DID do was allow you to develop a reputation as a good <insert class here> player and thereby get more group invites.  That is pretty much how the community formed.  It was a tacit agreement that we have to group to get this thing done so lets group with the best and get it done as quickly as possilble.

 

My second MMO was City of Heroes.  That was a very solo friendly game when it first launched and continued to be right up until it was shut down.  It was a revelation to be able to log on for 15 minutes and get something positive done.  In DAoC it was log on, LFG, ride a horse to the area, wait for your group mates to show up and set up, then pulling began.  I wouldn't log on to DAoC unless I knew I had a solid hour to play because at least 15 mintues was going to get spent finding a group and getting everyone in the right place.  However in CoH I could log in, phone up a contact, superjump to the mission door and get the mission done.  I didn't even have to say "Hiya" in /supergroup chat and I was off and running.

 

Both types of games suited me.  DAoC was fun and just when I got to the point where I couldn't afford the time to play DAoC (my wife and I started having kids), CoH came out and I was able to continue gaming.  CoH allowed me to log on and off at a moment's notice much more easily than DAoC did.

 

Things change.  I can see merits in both.  When I have the time I like to group, but when I don't I like to be able to solo a bit.  Groupers are the new roleplayers and roleplayers, well, it's hard to find roleplayers these days.  At least the non vampiric kind.

Mon Jan 14 2013 8:19AM Report
MarkRobin writes: This is a big change I have seen since a long time. And it is was awaited update. I personally choose gropuping because it gives more flexibility to play game in a group instead playing solo or with unknown.technology and education Mon Jan 14 2013 8:50AM Report
Po_gg writes:

For me both sides are even, I love to solo and I also love to group up with friends. And +1 to SwampRob, it should be optional on both ends in every game (forced grouping s*cks, but if you're in a group and the game says it's a solo only insta, that s*cks just as much. Options, devs, option is the king...)

 

Btw I think the question is not spot-on, most people goes into a mmo because of playing together, so obviously they like grouping. It'd be a better question who do you group with? I know myself group cca. 90% of my time (just a wild guess ofc) with friends. As Bill's punchline says don't let a bad pug gets you down - and the easiest way to ensure that, don't pug :) So I think this periodically upcoming issue of "people don't group" is more like "people do group, but only with friends (or guildies)" which seems like there's not much grouping in games.

Mon Jan 14 2013 8:56AM Report
logan400k writes:

I think the nature of the player has changed in a way that makes grouping not that enjoyable for me.  I am not saying its bad, but most player's goals are radically different than mine, so it is not always a good mix.

I tend to be a solor explorer in PVE and heck even a lone wolf in PvP. I just like it that way.

Mon Jan 14 2013 9:06AM Report
Athcear writes:

Group content is the heart and soul of an MMO.  Cooperative activities to complete tasks that you otherwise couldn't on your own.  That's the entire point of MMOs.

Not at all to say that there shouldn't be solo content in an MMO.  But the whole reason for it being an MMO in the first place is for people to play together.  If you want a single player game, go play one.  It will probably be closer to the experience that you're looking for.

Solo content in an MMO should fill in the cracks between group activities.

Mon Jan 14 2013 9:27AM Report

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