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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,

Vindictus - Forced Grouping Is Fun?

Posted by BillMurphy Tuesday October 5 2010 at 5:20PM
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 I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time over the past few days playing Vindictus’ Early Access to Open Beta.  It’s one of those games that really impressed me at E3 and continues to do so now.  It’s not super-complicated, it’s not a big open world MMO, it’s more about action, items, and storyline than anything else.  If you think Diablo + God of War, you’d probably be along the right lines. 

The physics and combat are top notch, even though the action can get a little repetitive this far into my career as a Crimson Blade (I’m only level 11).  Basically the action with Lann (the dual-wielding speedy character) amounts to a lot of left and right mouse-clicking with a fair amount of dodging via the spacebar.  But there’s no real skills like you may be used to.  It’s all a little more twitchy, but doesn’t require as much aiming skill as a shooter.

Except when you want to really hone in a spear toss. 

Oh yeah, you get spears, grappling hooks, bombs.  It’s like a really violent Zelda game.  In fact tossing spears and other ranged weapons wind up being the most important factor in boss fights.  And until about level 9, you might not find yourself having much trouble with the game’s boss mobs. 

At this point you’ll be tasked with the mission “A Decisive Battle”.  There’s a main town hub in Vindictus where all players congregate, advance the story in, sell, craft, check mail, etc.  But in order to see action, you’ll go to the docks, select a specific mission or “battle” and launch a ship to travel there.  You can also see other players’ ships preparing to launch, and join their party if there’s room available.  And for “A Decisive Battle”, unless you’re higher level or playing as Fiona, you might want to do just that. 

Lann doesn’t have the shield to put up with the onslaught from the mission’s Gnoll Chieftan boss (or maybe I just suck hardcore).  So eventually, though I’m generally a solo player, I realized it’d be best to join a party and take him on.  I found one leaving at the same time I was looking for one, joined them and despite some lag, we trounced the bugger.  Spears, hooks, and bombs stunned him from all angles and I think I was the only one who died after my helmet got busted off my head. 

That’s the reason I titled this post as you see above.  Maybe I just suck, or am too weak right now, but “A Decisive Battle” wound up being a battle that pretty much necessitated the help of some fellow players.  Consider it like an “Elite Quest” from WoW’s glory days.  Only in this case to advance the story line you actually needed to beat this particular battle. 

But here’s the kicker.

Unlike in many MMOs, where grouping with strangers is a hassle, in Vindictus, thanks to the arcade action and perhaps simplified mechanics, I found it an absolute riot just as I did at E3.  The game’s a lot of fun, even solo, but if you really want a blast you should at least find a partner to team up with.  Even if only for the really hard tasks.

Kaynos1972 writes:

You made it to level 11 and find the action repetitive, well i found that out at 5.  And all the non-stop clicking had my wrist starting to hurt.   As far as grouping goes, yes it's painless but it's serves no community purpose, no one talks, you there to kill stuff so go ahead and kill stuff so we get the reward, xp and get the hell out of here.   Having minions like in some other games would serve the same purpose.

Wed Oct 06 2010 10:39AM Report
Katrisa writes:

I had so much hope for this game but im disappointed that there is no exploration. It has its stronge pnts but just not my style of game. Its more of an Arcade game with friends than an mmo. I had to roll my eyes when i was making my char and I saw the "dead or alive" style of bouncing boobs. Im sure that will bring in the under 18 males.

Wed Oct 06 2010 11:09AM Report
MadnessRealm writes:

Gnoll Chieftain is actually pretty easy. With only 3 attack pattern that are easy to dodge when you can recognize the animation, he will go down quickly, even if you solo. Trick is to throw lots of things at him (Trees, Pillars, etc).

The next "big boss", which is in Hoarfrost Ruins, allows Raid Party, which means up to 6 or 8 players. But the bosses after it are even worse....in a good way :P

Wed Oct 06 2010 1:41PM Report
OhMyGoth writes:

This game is awesome, but does get boring after awhile running the same dungeons over and over. And with only the 3rd boat being released in open beta the content will be limited. As for bosses the only challenging one's thus far are the Kobold Chieftan and the Polar Bear and those barely pose a challenge. Even solo their somewhat easy like the Gnoll Chieftan, just gotta learn their attack patterns. I'll continue this game into open beta and beyond, but will treat it like a FPS and limit my playing time so i don't get bored fast.

Wed Oct 06 2010 8:18PM Report
Onijin writes:

Forced grouping? -.- meh FFXI all over again. people never learn from other gaming mistakes do they?

Wed Oct 06 2010 8:38PM Report
goblin00 writes:

forced grouping isnt a bad thing.. go play a rpg

Wed Oct 06 2010 9:20PM Report
Skuz writes:

terribly repetitive, gameplay is solid but the content is way too slim.

Thu Oct 07 2010 12:26AM Report
schroedinger writes:

You can solo decisive battle as a lann. you just have to use the environment to block attacks from the boss (big pillars) and learn their attack patterns - when to dodge, when they will be exposed after that big attack. You can split the two bosses up with some attention to pathing - one thing i hope they fix since it isn't logical, but hey.

 

the pvp clips i have seen look fun, but i hope they add the 3 other classes and more content. As it is, the gameplay is entertaining for a little bit, then does get repetative and will be artificially restricted by tokens only regenerating twice a week. but i cant imagine sitting down and playing this for hours upon hours a day for any reason, so that is fine by me. It will be fun for pvping with buddies, and the graphics are pretty damn stunning for F2P. Hair, cloth, feathers, etc move realistically, there is a smashingly interactive environment, and for the gentlemen we have possibly the best "jiggle physics" i have ever seen in a f2p. ;)

Thu Oct 07 2010 10:17AM Report
Ripclaw writes:

I love this game. So far, aside from a couple of boring collection quests, I'm having a blast playing it. But then again, I was apart of the Diablo 2 craze and I'm also a huge fan of the God of War series.

Like Diablo and God of War, Vindictus is easy to learn, yet hard to master. My main character is Fiona and I'm learning new tacticsand fun way to use her all the time. There is ALLOT of cool hidden things with this game, you just have to learn how to find them.

Plus when you've honed your skill enough to take out a tought boss for your level, solo, as in no party, just you, that feeling of winning is just awesome.

You have to be creative with this game to get the most out of it. Like catching 2 enemies in a grabbed wall smash and there's nothing quite like throwing an enemy into a group of others, watching them all fly everywhere afterwards because of it. Too many players want the disigners to lay it all out for them these days.

Thu Oct 07 2010 3:10PM Report
kjempff writes:

Forced grouping is both evil and great.

I would say that close to all mmo players most memorable experiences are with a group - As much as you may like soloing, people together creates the situation needed for a great gaming experience. Try to deny it ^-^.

 

Forced grouping however can be a pain in a game, and is strangely both what made people love these games but also leave them in the end.

 

I want to take the example of eq1, which was (atleast in the older days) more or less forced grouping. At that time everyone accepted this was just the terms you played on, and you met interesting people all the time. Funny enough, the idea of forcing people to interact also had the flipside of dividing people into groups who eventually wouldnt have much contact with the other groups, who didnt meet the standards they found important (does this ring bell looking at real life?).

After some years these groups got tighter and tighter, and pushed the people who werent very group oriented closer to the quit button. If you were in a tight group (which I fortunately was) the game would offer you awesome game experiences.

If you were not in a tight group, because you were a new player or had taken a long break, then the situation is that you need work really hard for maybe a year to find into a group of people to fit in with. This is atleast how I experienced my comebacks to eq1, I had a hard time finding a tight group (not game group) to be with. Returning or beeing new to eq1 results in looking for group for hours not beeing able to do anything meanwhile, not beeing able to do your quests and eventually just bore yourself to the quit button. My and many others solution to this was a kind of soloing; multiboxing.

 

There were also other factors that played a role here, for example the game groups are very static and not much diversity can be done, without a healer = no go, without a tank = no go , without a slower = no go and so on, on top of that lets say your tank needs to go, getting a replacement running there could easily take the tank 30 mins of just running through zones which = 30 mins of no play (but much chitchatting).

 

Eq could have changed and improved the way forced group worked to make it once again viable, but they "Ruined their own lands" by doing nothing.

 

My conclusion is, grouping is what makes a great mmo, but it can also break a mmo if made poorly.

Sat Oct 16 2010 10:11PM Report
Narninian writes:

I know this an older post and the title of your blog has a valid concern, but vindictus is a poor example of forced grouping. In fact I'd say it is one of few MMOs (and they only one I've played) where you can get by in the entire game WITHOUT grouping. So in that aspect it is the OPPOSITE of forced grouping.

 

One can beat every quest, with any class, solo - even the raid content. Having fewer players/worse gear/lower level makes the leeway for mistakes lower and the fights take longer - but any quest can still be done solo with any class and its one of the things I love about the game; the sense of accomplishment for doing these tasks. 

Sat May 21 2011 4:08PM Report

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