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  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  12/20/06 2:27:52 PM#1

This week, Jon Wood returns with a new Community Spotlight. In this edition of the weekly feature, Wood discusses the idea of solo content in MMORPGs.

"I keep reading posts where people complain that they can't solo their way through MMOs. Now I wonder, what is the motivation for someone to play a MMO, if he or she does not like to group and socialize with other people? Don't offline-RPGs offer a better experience for this kind of playstyle? Maybe someone can enlighten me... "

It's a fair question. A "massive multiplayer" game has two prerequisites. It must be big, and it has to have multiple players. So, there really is an apparent logic-gap when someone tells you that they will not play an MMORPG if they can not solo their way through the game's content.

Read the Spotlight here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  nobleeagle

Novice Member

Joined: 6/19/05
Posts: 2

12/20/06 3:15:21 PM#2

When you play a singleplayer game, such as Oblivion, it may play and look better, but one is painstakingly aware that everything is "dead". I'm the only one there. The cool thing about MMORPG is that the place is alive and full of life with real living people. All the characters represent actual humans - not some program. This is what makes MMORPG attractive for some of us. But I still enjoy the singleplayer aspect, which is why I'd like MMORPGs to have even more soloplay content than they do. One does not need to be in a group to enjoy the social side of a MMORPG.

  Belsameth

Novice Member

Joined: 3/06/04
Posts: 195

12/20/06 3:23:25 PM#3
Good post and I agree. I never group (I've a phobia for groups ever since playing DAoC Europe) but I love to socialize.
solo friendly mmo's let me do just that while also enjoying the game.
belsameth Xfire Miniprofile
  malachidark

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/06
Posts: 93

All Light Ends in DarKness

12/20/06 3:27:12 PM#4
a wonderful topic to choose. i hate pick up groups, they're a big waste of time, even if you get a good group that makes it to the end there's always that chance of a ninja to make your whole trip a total waste. however, i do like to group to lvl. i remember SWG used to have the best leveling system ever seen, imho, you'd get into a group of 8 and pick up 2 missions each to kill a nest of creatures. xp wasn't split between the group and you got xp for the mission as well as about 10k credits, it was wonderful. i'd be in the same group for hours doing the missions and we'd have a blast....totally unlike WoW where if you're in a group of 2 people you get 50% less xp than normal and the only point to be in a group is to complete a quest, i hate that they describe it as "Solo and casual friendly" when it should be described as "you pretty much have to solo unless you have a hard quest or you like to lvl slow or you're at endgame in which case it's not casual anymore either"...long but true :P. I hope Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is groupfriendly for the leveling, instead of a dang WoW clone made for the 12 year old that's never played an MMO before and has no online friends to gorup with...

yeah ok i talk too much, so shoot me ><

Currently Playing: Tabula Rasa

Gaming History: EQ, EQ2, SWG, EVE, Anarchy Online, CoX, GW, SRO, Rakion, Ryzom, WoW, Rappelz, Shadowbane, 9Dragons, DAoC, Dungeon Runners, DnD Online, Space Cowboy, LotRO, Vanguard, Fury, Hellgate
Wanting to Play: WAR, TCoS, Darkfall, Aion

  PsycoPanda

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/23/06
Posts: 15

12/20/06 3:31:01 PM#5
I think Solo content is a bad term.  It makes it sound like people want to play by themselves and only by themselves.  I think a better word for what people want is soloable content.  You can solo when you want.  If you don't have a lot of time on at night, or you have no friends/guildies on and you don't feel like PUGing, you can still do something.  And running around killing mobs for a while is not doing something.  Completing quests lets you feel like you've actually accomplished something.  It lets you take the game at your own pace, unlike lets say WoW raids, where you have to be on at a certain time every day.  You can work the game around your schedule, not your schedule around the game.

There should definitly be benefits to grouping up.  Either better exp, faster going, less danger, better items, but it should stilll be able to do it alone if you want too. 

City of heroes is a good example of this.  The mission tailers itself to the people in the group.  If you go in alone, theres fewer mobs.  You go pretty slow, and theres pretty poor exp, but soloing is very possible (for most classes).  You move A LOT faster and get much better exp as part of a team though.

Otherwise it was a good article.
  Techleo

Novice Member

Joined: 7/25/03
Posts: 1968

Is it over yet...

12/20/06 3:55:35 PM#6
 I was going to say CoH and AO are perfect examples of the game tailoring itself to the players style. Theres no real need for there to be a conflict between soloers and groupers.
  Netherbeast

Novice Member

Joined: 2/03/06
Posts: 55

12/20/06 4:04:27 PM#7
SWG did something right when it first started. They had the cantinas and entertainers. You could solo missions for a while, then kick back at a cantina and other players were hanging out there for skills, business, healing or just chatting. That, to me, was the greatist socializing experience any mmo has yet to offer.

Give a man fire and he''s warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he''s warm the rest of his life.

  KillerJimmy

Novice Member

Joined: 8/29/06
Posts: 217

"Sometimes I kill stuff..."

12/20/06 4:25:13 PM#8

I'm not too fond of groups either. To the point where if an MMO I'm playing switches the existing gameplay to require grouping, I usually quit.

I played WoW when it came out for about a year and again recently for about 2 months. Grouping or raiding in WoW really shows one of the major problems I have with random groups. I'm 27 and have been gaming for awhile, when I end up grouped with somebody who learned their "social skills" from the halls of a public school...it's not pretty. The funniest thing they heard at their locker doesn't amuse me in the least ("How can you not like hearing ORLY 300 times a day?!?!"). I have had some ugly, ugly clashes in those random forced groups.

SWG had a lot of player interaction, but I can only remember grouping once or twice early on to kill stuff. I loved exploring the worlds on foot solo. I mapped every planet down to the POIs and lots of people in the guild asked me where to find anything they wanted to find. I loved killing mobs for hours solo. When I wanted to kill dragons, I did it with a small group of friends I had made in game (or in other games). I had a ton of dependance on other players, but didn't ever feel forced into grouping.

I agree with what so many have said. I like having the people there, but I still don't want to be forced to group with them. In a guild a couple people will stand out as more mature or more PvP based (or whatever you're looking for) and then groups just happen for me. Force grouping and I start to wonder why I'm in the guild or game...

  oglem

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/06
Posts: 22

12/20/06 4:53:20 PM#9

Hi all,

Another wonderful piece avoiding the problem, you are now saying, I wanna play an MMO without playing the multiplayer content.

Small Grouping while nasty in pickup form becomes a romp with friends when you make some (Largely missed by your solo play style).

Large Groups or Guilds/Corps are based on the notion of a number of players working together for a common goal, so far every article you seem to make a case for if you cant do it on your own its bad because it doesn’t fit "your" style. Did you ever play team sport?

With this current article you are now a proponent of a single player rpg with a chat service.
"I don’t necessarily need to be interacting directly with them at any given moment, but I do enjoy knowing that they’re there"

It becoming very clear you want MMO's to become something that requires no multiplayer interaction that leaves you with ORPG. Go buy NWN1/2 and find a PW.

,
Oglem


  necrotherion

Novice Member

Joined: 12/08/06
Posts: 129

"The Pope? How many divisions has he got?" - Joe Stalin

12/20/06 4:54:25 PM#10
I agree with psyco panda, soloable would be a better and less negative term to use.

Cool article. I am personally a solo player, for the reason that I don't like to rely on others or waste time assembling a group, as already mentioned.

PS. The Voyage Century links to game info instead of the new article, is anyone else getting the same problem?
  Mysk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/18/03
Posts: 982

12/20/06 5:54:08 PM#11
Quote from the article: “There is a difference”, says gestalt11, “between being an individualist and be completely alone.”

Agreed.  There are us schizoid types who prefer to do most things on our own, but the other players are there for when we need 'em.  Trading, trade skills, advice, and yes, the odd group when you just have to.

At any rate, I am hard pressed to remember a group that actually held a conversation.  Very near every pick up group that I have ever been in will simply go about the mechanical aspect - killing the mobs, accomplishing goals, and so on - and will pretty much never say a single word.  Indeed, the silence in these groups can be so strong that it can feel awkward to try to start a conversation.

Perhaps some of them are using voice chat, but it's difficult to believe that all random pick up groups are doing so.

Therefore I do not equate "socializing" with "grouping".

Then there are the attitudes that I won't deal with, the wait times involved to get into a group, and everything else mentioned in the article.

Solo >> grouping, at least in my experience.

~Mysk


I probably don't follow the threads that I post in. If you want me to see a response then feel free to PM me.

  rahzzin

Novice Member

Joined: 11/28/05
Posts: 10

12/20/06 8:07:43 PM#12

Originally posted by Stradden

This week, Jon Wood returns with a new Community Spotlight. In this edition of the weekly feature, Wood discusses the idea of solo content in MMORPGs.

"I keep reading posts where people complain that they can't solo their way through MMOs. Now I wonder, what is the motivation for someone to play a MMO, if he or she does not like to group and socialize with other people? Don't offline-RPGs offer a better experience for this kind of playstyle? Maybe someone can enlighten me... "

It's a fair question. A "massive multiplayer" game has two prerequisites. It must be big, and it has to have multiple players. So, there really is an apparent logic-gap when someone tells you that they will not play an MMORPG if they can not solo their way through the game's content.

Read the Spotlight here.

I find an obvious logic-gap when someone tells me that I suffer from a logic-gap, simply because my playstyle does not conform to their preferred style.  For one, it can simply be a matter of the game itself, and the production quality!  If old Everquest was playable offline, I would be quite happy to pay for that.  However, that said, I very much miss the social aspects of old EQ.  I had about three dozen real life friends that also played, and even if I couldn't group with them for level reasons, or lack of time or interests in hunting spots, I still enjoyed interacting with them.  It was like going to a club without having to tip the bartender or suffer the hangover the next day.  AND...sometimes I only have an hour, and no matter what game it is, it is just a royal pain in the butt to waste any part of that trying to find a group or meet up with friends.  So my advice to Mr. John Wood?  Pull that crack pipe out of your rear and get a clue that people don't all play the same way, or for the same reasons.



  User Deleted
12/20/06 8:16:34 PM#13
That's also been my experience. When I pugged most of the time, usually there is no talk. It's just an efficient meeting of objectives. Chatter just makes you lose efficiency and makes you the weaker link. So I must concur that grouping can be social but it isn't always the social mecca that some would like to say. I've actually socialized more solo than in groups because when soloing I could slow down and chatter in the various channels without slowing anybody down but my own self.

All the above being said, I enjoyed dozens and dozens of good pugs. But in those pleasant occurences I was not forced. I just felt like it. I also enjoy very much to group with my personal friends, including those I met in game (and no you don't have to group with those new people to meet them initially).
  Jumonji

Novice Member

Joined: 9/10/05
Posts: 26

12/20/06 9:19:05 PM#14
Grouping != socializing
and
Solo != solitary

That said, I admit I've been playing Oblivion lately because it is much more immersive than than any MMORPG out there right now. But I have enjoyed CoH, WoW, and even SWG at times. Mostly solo, but occasionally in groups. I've rarely met anyone I wanted to hang out with in WoW or CoH. At least in the early SWG There were other RPers, but not any other games I've found.

Believe it or not, most MMORPGS have more immersive content if you keep other players at arms length. Then you can at least pretend they are real people instead of leet-ninjas.

Like others said - pickup groups are virtually always more mechanical than hiring a bunch of NPC mercenaries. At least the NPCs have personalities.

  Drakonus

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/30/05
Posts: 135

12/20/06 11:46:55 PM#15

Originally posted by Jumonji
Grouping != socializing
and
Solo != solitary

That said, I admit I've been playing Oblivion lately because it is much more immersive than than any MMORPG out there right now. But I have enjoyed CoH, WoW, and even SWG at times. Mostly solo, but occasionally in groups. I've rarely met anyone I wanted to hang out with in WoW or CoH. At least in the early SWG There were other RPers, but not any other games I've found.

Believe it or not, most MMORPGS have more immersive content if you keep other players at arms length. Then you can at least pretend they are real people instead of leet-ninjas.

Like others said - pickup groups are virtually always more mechanical than hiring a bunch of NPC mercenaries. At least the NPCs have personalities.


I agree there have been time when I've done more socializing out side of a group rather than in one.  And times when I've been in a group and done no socializing what so ever.  Sometimes it's a lot more fun to go out and solo just to see what you can do.  And other times it's more fun group some of your in game buddies, rarely do PUG, they generally annoy me unless of course you've got some cool ppl in it (non-uptight).  I guess for me it boils down to being a mixed bag.  
drakonus777 Xfire Miniprofile
  seePyou

Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/06
Posts: 32

12/21/06 12:26:15 AM#16
Since when was the MMO synonymous with grouping?

I see the MMO genre as offering the foolowing:
a) ability to reach maximum level solo, even if it takes you 10 times the time
b) ability to group for faster XP or simply to enter a dungeon/instance for better gear that needs a group BUT DOES NOT hinder my progression to max lvl
c) ability to play PvP solo if I want to (a rogue alone can play the patience game and just sit and wait for the perfect mark) or grouped (a primary healer can be fun to play, but needs a group to heal). Again, soloing in PvP will not advance you in that game's ranking system as fast as grouping, but the POSSIBILITY is there!

As you understand, it is all about CHOICE, just like the Matrix (great movie!). If I feel I'm being pushed in only one choice I get frustrated!

Good example: DAoC PvP, when sometimes I used to go out alone with my scout just to nuke people from afar with my volley (huge fun - little pvp gain, but it was my choice)

Bad example: WoW epic items used to be available only to 40man raids or Rank12-14 PvP, both of which required an amount of time I simply did not have to give.

P.S. some of my friends told me that after the WoW expansion, epic items will come only from Arena and Raids, again making it impossible to ever attain epic items from a casual play... Too bad, I kinda got my hopes up with the system that is right now in place, thought someone had finaly started respecting the casual gamers...

------------Sig------------
http://www.seepyou.net/blog

  Solanar

Novice Member

Joined: 12/15/05
Posts: 178

12/21/06 12:41:03 AM#17
Great article, sums up me greatly. Especially what you said here: "When I am playing an MMORPG, I’m playing to be around other people. I don’t necessarily need to be interacting directly with them at any given moment, but I do enjoy knowing that they’re there. That’s a feeling that I can’t replicate in a single-player game." That's exactly what I wanted to say about this topic, scarry really.


¤played: Nearly everything.
¤waiting: *Darkfall*, Hero''s Journey

  Reklaw

Elite Member

Joined: 1/07/06
Posts: 6154

The adult I am takes care of most things real life. However my inner-child is a GAMER!!

12/21/06 2:47:06 AM#18

Originally posted by Mysk
Quote from the article: “There is a difference”, says gestalt11, “between being an individualist and be completely alone.”

Agreed.  There are us schizoid types who prefer to do most things on our own, but the other players are there for when we need 'em.  Trading, trade skills, advice, and yes, the odd group when you just have to.

At any rate, I am hard pressed to remember a group that actually held a conversation.  Very near every pick up group that I have ever been in will simply go about the mechanical aspect - killing the mobs, accomplishing goals, and so on - and will pretty much never say a single word.  Indeed, the silence in these groups can be so strong that it can feel awkward to try to start a conversation.

Perhaps some of them are using voice chat, but it's difficult to believe that all random pick up groups are doing so.

Therefore I do not equate "socializing" with "grouping".

Then there are the attitudes that I won't deal with, the wait times involved to get into a group, and everything else mentioned in the article.

Solo >> grouping, at least in my experience.

~Mysk

I totaly agree with you, i love socializing but also love to "solo" my way thru a game with accasionaly helping out others as other might helpout me, but grouping has been horror for me from the start in WOW, oh i really enjoy WOW, just never been able to get into a nice fun loving mature group, groups i was in where indeed with people that did not say a word  even when i tried to build conversation it mostly was just a answer and silence again, also when i was foolish enough to help people much lower then me in some cave/sdungeons and i left every piece of loot alone and even passed items wich could be choosen from "greed" i passed on and then get screamed at if i pick something out of a chest wich i really needed for a ALT (wich ingame i refure to another family member) wich they mostly found unfair cause the character i was playing with did not really need it, its like those (sorry have to say it) "kids" think people take items just for taken them, sorry that they might have encounterd other "kids" that play that way, i only collect what i really need or lets say what my mind needs before it may dwell in another body (alt).

Someone else responded to this topic about the way SWG once was at it's start and that was really the closest i felt a mmorpg could be, there it was where i discovered the true meaning of grouping, the true meaning of players having conversation,they additude in SWG was not me! me! me!, but us us us, afcourse i'm not saying the whole community was like that in SWG, i'm just sharing my own experiance and even though i have tried many times after SWG in alott of dif. kind of MMO's i never have gotten that feel of grouping as i have felt in SWG pre-cu. You might think oh there he is again with that old game news about SWG but if you read correctly you would read the hurt this game has given alott of people in the mmorpg community and thats why us reall mmorpg players will unfortunaly never forget that true mmorpg feel SWG once gave us a taste of, afcourse if you never tasted it, its hard to imagen what a fantastic flavour it was even with the not perfectly balanced food it tasted beter then i have tasted after........

  Trogdorn

Novice Member

Joined: 2/14/06
Posts: 18

12/21/06 4:02:58 AM#19
A most interesting thread indeed. Many respondents nailed my feelings right on the head. I enjoy selective socializing and want it to be an option, not a requirement. If you happen to be a more "mature" (read old and ancient) player then grouping with "younger" (read potentially obnoxious and immature) players gets less and less attractive. This topic overlaps another hot subject - casual vs. hardcore. I don't want to invest what time I have available grouping and attempting a mission only to have it fail due to members throwing tantrums or just bailing.
I was hopeful that Guild Wars was the right choice, since you can use henchies, but I hit missions that required live players. Still haven't done them and probably won't. Can you ever obtain the ultimate goal of WoW - uber gear - without grouping? No way!
Still looking for a fun game, with the option of socializing, but one that can be "soloable."
  wlvnspectre

Novice Member

Joined: 5/11/04
Posts: 96

12/21/06 6:19:56 AM#20
Where is this assuption that a goodMMo can't have Both!  Where is this assumption that if I want to do solo play I never want to engage in group play?

If I want to wait untill I am skilled or capable enough to take on a mission that a team of players could at a lower level, why should I be restricted?

People don't just play one wayor the other, and whena MMO forces people to play one wayor another they are just going to feel...wel, forced.  If I don't want to get together with strangers to make a pickup group, I and most other players will resent that and then by proxy resent the players.

Think of the lasttime you were on some sort of public transportation without people you know.  Once in a while you might start up a converstion with a nearbypassenger, and sometimes even make a casual freind.  How would youfeel if you had to try and talk to all the people on that form of transportation as they are forced to talk to you.  That wouldn't be aukward now would it.

If you had the inclination and so did the people around you, you might have a good conversation... If thats what everybody wanted.
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