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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Is casual grouping (eg Rift, GW2) really that awesome and THE solution?

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42 posts found
  cutthecrap

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/29/12
Posts: 608

 
OP  3/30/12 12:00:30 PM#1

Both GW2 and Rift will use a form of casual grouping. And While I think it's a good solution and a step up, I also wonder: will it really offer everything that some people are pinning all their hopes on it to be?

I've played Rift for a while, and while it was true that casual grouping happened a lot and was less of a fuss than grouping in other MMO's, there was a hell of a lot of times that I casually grouped up, and that there was no talk at all, people left and joined, as much of strangers to eachother as they were before. It certainly didn't resemble the group bonding that happened in the early MMO's like EQ or DAoC.

Heck, even the grouping on the classic EQ servers that were started last year and a few years back didn't resemble the group bonding that happened in EQ a decade ago, and the people joining those EQ progression servers were EQ enthusiasts.

 

Which makes me somewhat sceptic about it: sure, casual grouping in GW2 will be fun too, but will it really be the savior of community on servers that some think it'll be, or will it be like I csaw happen in Rift?

To me, it looks like the MMORPG community has changed from what it was, and that's the main problem these days: maybe it was because everyone was new to MMORPG's and more openminded and accepting towards things, or maybe the demography of MMO gamers of those early years is different from the current MMO demography, more roleplay and RPG enthusiasts and people who were more flexible in many ways, or MMO gamers having become jaded where before in the beginning they were fresh and eager to play in an MMORPG.

I don't know what the reason exactly is; but I do know that MMO gamers back then managed to cope with a lot more stuff and still have fun than now, where as now the majority of MMO gamers have less tolerance, patience and flexibility to handle those.

Things that MMO gamers dealt with in early MMO's - forced grouping, XP death penalty, item loss - would have the current average MMO gamer running for the hills screaming 'fire'.

 

So, will casual grouping like in GW2 be the savior for server community? I sure hope so, but how MMO community is these days, I'm kinda sceptic about it. I know I'll think thrice before I pick my definitive server.

 

edit: a picture that I think describes very well this difference between MMO gamers back then and now is this one

  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16040

3/30/12 12:05:39 PM#2

i don't think it is the solution but it is a step in the right direction at least.

MMO communities used to be really tight but now you usually only socialize with your guild if even that. 

For MMOs to get awesome communities again we need more social stuff but you have to start somewhere.

  Torik

Elite Member

Joined: 1/02/09
Posts: 2266

3/30/12 1:07:48 PM#3
Originally posted by cutthecrap

Both GW2 and Rift will use a form of casual grouping. And While I think it's a good solution and a step up, I also wonder: will it really offer everything that some people are pinning all their hopes on it to be?

I've played Rift for a while, and while it was true that casual grouping happened a lot and was less of a fuss than grouping in other MMO's, there was a hell of a lot of times that I casually grouped up, and that there was no talk at all, people left and joined, as much of strangers to eachother as they were before. It certainly didn't resemble the group bonding that happened in the early MMO's like EQ or DAoC.

Heck, even the grouping on the classic EQ servers that were started last year and a few years back didn't resemble the group bonding that happened in EQ a decade ago, and the people joining those EQ progression servers were EQ enthusiasts.

 

Which makes me somewhat sceptic about it: sure, casual grouping in GW2 will be fun too, but will it really be the savior of community on servers that some think it'll be, or will it be like I csaw happen in Rift?

To me, it looks like the MMORPG community has changed from what it was, and that's the main problem these days: maybe it was because everyone was new to MMORPG's and more openminded and accepting towards things, or maybe the demography of MMO gamers of those early years is different from the current MMO demography, more roleplay and RPG enthusiasts and people who were more flexible in many ways, or MMO gamers having become jaded where before in the beginning they were fresh and eager to play in an MMORPG.

I don't know what the reason exactly is; but I do know that MMO gamers back then managed to cope with a lot more stuff and still have fun than now, where as now the majority of MMO gamers have less tolerance, patience and flexibility to handle those.

Things that MMO gamers dealt with in early MMO's - forced grouping, XP death penalty, item loss - would have the current average MMO gamer running for the hills screaming 'fire'.

 

So, will casual grouping like in GW2 be the savior for server community? I sure hope so, but how MMO community is these days, I'm kinda sceptic about it. I know I'll think thrice before I pick my definitive server.

 

edit: a picture that I think describes very well this difference between MMO gamers back then and now is this one

 

I will admit that I am way more jaded and cynical than I was when I first started playing MMORPGs.   I played EVE as my second MMORPG and that game burned a lot of idealism out of me. 

This cynicism is also a big reason why I no longer put up with things like forced grouping, harsh death penalties or item loss.  In the 'old days' I was naive enough to think that putting up with all this inane stuff would give access to special parts of the game that would make the game experience even better.  After a while I realized that that was a big lie.  If a game had those grindy elements, it was becaue the devs wanted to keep me playing and paying.  All I had to look to was more of the same forever. 

One thing I noticed about that cartoon.  The game portrayed does not seem to have changed at all over the years.  The player seems to be grinding the same crab mobs as he was years before.

  ElderRat

Novice Member

Joined: 9/30/10
Posts: 909

3/30/12 1:15:09 PM#4

I cannot speak to GW2 because I have no experience playing it. I have played Rift and the casual grouping that you mention is, to me, more like solo play in a group. For me being in a group should mean some communication... never noticed much of that in Rift.  If this is the future single player games will be my choice.

Currently bored with MMO's.

  gladosrev2

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/21/09
Posts: 204

3/30/12 1:18:28 PM#5

The issue with the old grouping system was the tagging of mobs. In short it led to making every player you meet an enemy, competition, something annoying. That's as asocial as you can get, clearly going against the creed of MMO's being 'social games'. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you can still group in GW2, you can stay and play together, in a way more natural, and unbound way.

Speaking of how bad tagging of mobs is, I have jsut installed AoC, to kill time until GW2, and found a player killing my mobs in the questing area. I don't really feel like inviting him and chatting right now, but the game forces me to if I want the kills shared. So, I just logged out, and will continue later once the spot is free. If this were GW2 I could just join the killing and pretend I'm alone and it would not interfere with either of us.

The old systems are just badly designed. So yes, GW2 should cleave the path and fix many of the mistakes the former games made.

My Guild Wars 2 First Beta Weekend "reviewette" : http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/post/4944570/thread/349125#4944570

  Sephastus

Elite Member

Joined: 6/15/09
Posts: 405

3/30/12 1:26:49 PM#6

MMO's, just like any other multiplayer game, is much more fun when played with friends. There lies the problem. When most of us started playing an MMO (particularly our first one), it was because we did it with a friend(s). Even the most boring and tedius of tasks becomes much more engaging and fun when done with like-minded individuals.

Alot of the MMOs coming out now are doing the "solo game with grouping and raiding as an addition." And unfortunately, due to WoW's success in doing this, most gaming companies believe this is the only way to go to make money. The true joy of playing with your friends and forced to have interactions with strangers (for better or worse) has been removed.

In EQ, and many of the first MMOs, were all about getting a group to complete objectives, and this was what gave them that spark of life. Now, its a sad solo existance where you solo to gain levels, and group to gain equipment.

FFXI, while concidered "hardcore" was a step in the right direction (imo) that was unfortunately not imitated. If grouping was required to gain levels, not just casual grouping, this genre would not be so fickle and, some would even go as far as to say, dying.

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7649

Logic be damned!

3/30/12 1:35:55 PM#7

You can't force people to join and then delegate certain people to specific roles and call it "open" grouping.

They should have probably called it "hot-join" grouping or something.

Even "public groups" is a fair term to use.

The only thing WAR and Rift did differently in regards to "open grouping" was create a proximity based one-click way to join the exact same rigid group structure as all the other MMOs before it.

 

But I think you and many others truly underestimate the impact of having no set group roles (holy trinity) and placing no restrictions on cooperation.

Now Playing: D3:RoS
Looking Towards: Destiny

  cutthecrap

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/29/12
Posts: 608

 
OP  3/30/12 1:36:18 PM#8
Originally posted by Torik

One thing I noticed about that cartoon.  The game portrayed does not seem to have changed at all over the years.  The player seems to be grinding the same crab mobs as he was years before.

I found he interesting part of the cartoon was that it wasn't the game environment that was changed, but how the player perceived them had changed: before he played an MMORPG and everything looked magical and a big adventure, later on he plays an MMORPG and it has translated into win stats. Same environment, only the MMO player doesn't see some magical world anymore, just a game to beat.

 

Originally posted by gladosrev2

The issue with the old grouping system was the tagging of mobs. In short it led to making every player you meet an enemy, competition, something annoying. That's as asocial as you can get, clearly going against the creed of MMO's being 'social games'. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you can still group in GW2, you can stay and play together, in a way more natural, and unbound way.

Speaking of how bad tagging of mobs is, I have jsut installed AoC, to kill time until GW2, and found a player killing my mobs in the questing area. I don't really feel like inviting him and chatting right now, but the game forces me to if I want the kills shared. So, I just logged out, and will continue later once the spot is free. If this were GW2 I could just join the killing and pretend I'm alone and it would not interfere with either of us.

The old systems are just badly designed. So yes, GW2 should cleave the path and fix many of the mistakes the former games made.

But that's the thing: in the old days players really grouped and bonded despite the bigger roadblocks and limitations like killsteals and camping happening. The hindrances were larger but players also still managed to overcome those obstacles and communities thrived despite of a less accomodating gaming environment - or maybe because of?

 

You give an example of a player killing mobs in the questing area in AoC, and how you feel forced to invite or chat with him: the funny or maybe sad thing is that this is exactly  what happened in the older games: people were forced or encouraged to talk with strangers or invite them, so both could work together and gain your kills. This happened many, many times in those early years, and many times those former strangers became guildmates or ended up on your friends list and you grouped up with them often for great fun.

Your behaviour how you handled the situation in AoC isn't unique, it's exactly what I think is wrong or different between MMO gamers back then and how the average MMO gamer is now: the same situation, only back then people ended up grouping and bonded and sometimes even became great guildies or friends, while now people just log out, or complain that they're forced to invite another player or group up and work with him.

It's why I'm sceptic about community forming capacity of MMO gamers these days: it almost feels like the atmosphere isn't fertile for it anymore.

  Xzen

Novice Member

Joined: 5/01/06
Posts: 2611

A sword is never a killer, it is a tool in the killer's hands.
- Seneca

3/30/12 1:36:43 PM#9

I wouldn't call it casual grouping. It's just grouping with out the hastle of having to ask some one if they want to "date" you or not. If I'm going down the road in real life and I see a person being attacked by a pack of wild dogs should I have to ask them if we can "party up" before dealing with the wolves?

  Rusque

Elite Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 1530

3/30/12 1:38:56 PM#10
Originally posted by Torik

This cynicism is also a big reason why I no longer put up with things like forced grouping, harsh death penalties or item loss.  In the 'old days' I was naive enough to think that putting up with all this inane stuff would give access to special parts of the game that would make the game experience even better.  After a while I realized that that was a big lie.  If a game had those grindy elements, it was becaue the devs wanted to keep me playing and paying.  All I had to look to was more of the same forever. 

One thing I noticed about that cartoon.  The game portrayed does not seem to have changed at all over the years.  The player seems to be grinding the same crab mobs as he was years before.

 

That's the funny thing about people. Perceptions counts for a lot. 

If people see a guy with a big exclamation mark over his head saying, "Fetch 15 logs of wood" they will scoff and cry about how games are full of stupid fedex and kill 10 rats quests, and how they're just a grindy treadmill.

But you take that player and put them into a sandbox, and say, "You can build a small hut if you want! Just collect 1500 logs and 423 pieces of string. And they'll eat it up as if it's the most amazing thing ever.  Just look at the success of minecraft. It's a fun game for a few minutes here and there, kinda like virtual legos. 

If an NPC gave someone a quest to "break 75,000 blocks to create a castle" no one would want to do it and they would bash the game for horrible repetative game design. But put that player in a world with a pickaxe and say, "Hey you can break blocks to make a castle!" They will spend the next 3 weeks clicking on blocks.  Quite hilarious imho.

Just like calculator the guy made in minecraft. Grats, you made a calculator . . . I mean, really?

  maplestone

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

3/30/12 1:42:49 PM#11

Grouping in particular touches on a lot of very individual motivations and differences between how introverted/extraverted people are.  More systems will mean more experiments to see what does and doesn't create fun environments.  Nothing is ever "THE" solution. 

  taulutussi

Novice Member

Joined: 12/25/07
Posts: 38

3/30/12 1:53:04 PM#12

I don't think there's enough downtime in mmos these days to allow any sort of conversations to happen. Certainly it can be argued that downtime is bad design and is just standing between fun and you, but I think it's the only time you can even type to your party members without hampering your performance.

  eddieg50

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/22/05
Posts: 1469

3/30/12 1:56:00 PM#13

   Yea people are in a super rush today. Even DDO which or used to encourage grouping gets a bad rap because people want to rush through, which in ddo totally kills the dungeon experience.  The only game I truly enjoyed grouping was Shadowbane which was a sandbox world PvP game , you had to group to survive and once you were in a group you had to communicate to survive.  SWG had a social component as everyone met in the cantina to chat, chatting in the cantina was more fun than swg combat.  eq pretty much had forced grouping cause the mobs were hard to kill and people felt "well if I am forced to be in a group I might as well socialize".

  Meleagar

Novice Member

Joined: 6/12/09
Posts: 407

3/30/12 1:57:53 PM#14

People tend to become what their environment fosters, and certain environments attract certain kinds of people, and repel others. Since GW2 is different from the ground up, I suggest that we have no idea, really, how the community will shape up, but based on the fundamental mechanisms of the game,I think that it will foster a community  that is more centered around fun and comraderie and less on one-upsmanship and exclusivity.

  eddieg50

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/22/05
Posts: 1469

3/30/12 1:58:10 PM#15
Originally posted by taulutussi

I don't think there's enough downtime in mmos these days to allow any sort of conversations to happen. Certainly it can be argued that downtime is bad design and is just standing between fun and you, but I think it's the only time you can even type to your party members without hampering your performance.

   This is true, everything is on super easy mode so who needs to group and you just continue cause there is no need to heal

  User Deleted
3/30/12 2:08:34 PM#16

I've had some great experiences with PUGs in many games as well as bad ones. Ok you probably won't take down the hardest boss ni the game or a premade group of e-sport teens in PvP with a random PUG but for the more casual purposes I'm still going to keep on joining pugs and trying to make the best out of them. I've noticed that an enjoyable PUG usually boils down to two things: a strong person taking the lead as an enlightened dictator and a little luck with the rest of the group not having too many asocial ignoramuses, "anarchists", plain stupid or just illiterate people,

I've also been in some truly horrible guilds and thus guild groups/raids which were exactly as bad as bad pugs. So I've come to this order of how I play: 

                   good kin group > good pug > solo > bad kin group == bad pug

Recently I've had so many consecutive disappointments in joining new guilds that I've almost given up (I actually don't know anybody else IRL who plays games like I do to hook up with in games except for my nephew who is an agnry griefer and a gankster with whom I'll have nothing to do inside games:).  

What to add to the topic of  the decline (and soon the fall I fear) of social playstyle and considerate and respectful attitude towards your fellow players? Can't think of anything that hasn't been said before.  But it's obvious that this makes it harder and harder to find good kin groups and pugs and while you don't want to play in bad ones the only thing you can rely is playing solo. 

 

  Relgyros

Novice Member

Joined: 3/16/12
Posts: 3

3/30/12 2:35:51 PM#17

I've only experienced Rift as a F2P, but in the instances for which they apply Casual grouping, I don't tend to view thas as 'awesome' or a great solution.  During the times I have joined a Rift event and ended up having a casual party form, everyone seems to be performing individually, with little to no attempt to communicate, and not even a resolving event /cheer or "Thanks all".

I think one of the real problems people have with the social aspect is the frequency of which disrespectful conversation overwrites attempts at quality socializing.  How many times have you attempted to start up a conversation over a general chat in recent times where you didn't get trolled after the first or second sentence, regardless of topic?  It's a really sad state.  I think more and more people intentionally don't socialize just to hopefully reduce the amount of garbage they see on their screen.

I'm not sure where that puts the majority of the onus, unfortunately.  I feel like the game developers can facilitate it, but at what cost?  I feel like the general gamers can facilitate it, but will they stop spamming a button and running long enough to /wave?  I feel like guilds and groups could be more open to people seeking a positive environment...

We create our communities.

  User Deleted
3/30/12 4:15:34 PM#18

I think (hope) that some of the design features of GW2 beyond just the casual grouping are what brings the community together.

 

It's not just being able to kill mobs without tagging, it's that everyone gets full xp and loot rights for helping kill mobs.  It's that dynamic events scale up with more people.  More mobs spawning means more xp and loot.  The game passively incentivizes you to stay around other people.

Dynamic events chain together to give you a natural reason to stick together as well.  Instead of people just scattering, you're going to naturally continue on to the next event.  There's no reason not to.

There's going to be as little griefing and competition as possible.  Not only does everyone get a whack at every gathering node, everyone has every gathering profession.  They want people to not even feel like they're holding other people up if they go off to mine something.

There's also cross profession combos and everyone can rez anyone in order to give people a natural way to work together and perhaps start a conversation.

Even things like not having endgame raiding.  In other games, leveling an alt is a chore you don't want to do.  You just want to be max level already so you're looking for the quickest way.  With GW2, you don't have to play one game before you play another game.  You can enjoy the world at your own pace.

The game also automatically sidekicks you down when you do lower level content.  If you see someone on your friends list and you're now 20 levels above him, you can immediately teleport somewhere and go play with them instead of other games where you just unfriend because you're never going to group again.

You can do a dungeon with any 5 professions, so you can play with whoever you want and not have to wait for certain classes.

 

It's all these things combined which I think are going to make GW2 all about community.  It's not just one feature, it's the whole game designed from the ground up to encourage it or at least remove all barriers to socializing.

  aesperus

Elite Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 4513

3/30/12 4:22:57 PM#19

I don't think grouping will ever be THE solution to this problem. Having more open / easier grouping does help, but you need to have a plethora of ingame mechanics that encourage socializing, and not many MMOs do this. So far, it seems like GW2 has a number of things that will help, but it's really hard to say what (if anything) will give us a more tightly knit community ala when MMOs were first being made.

To be honest, I think the general mentality of MMO gamers has changed / warped so much that it might not even be possible to have a game like that nowadays. The closest I've seen recently would be LotRO, and even then it only happened in pockets of the game. Perhaps once people are able to start focusing on the fun aspect of games, instead of equating fun with min-maxing / powerlvling, we will start to see a bit of a paradigm shift.

  romanator0

Novice Member

Joined: 12/02/10
Posts: 2425

3/30/12 4:24:10 PM#20

Simply removing mob-tagging and kill-stealling and not penalizing people for being near each other in the open world will go a long way in in bringing people together and possibly improving the community. Forcing people to compete with each and every person around them for no reason at all does nothing but drive them away from each other.

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