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Advanced Member

Joined: 4/16/04
Posts: 1467

3/04/11 5:16:07 PM#21

Dunno, RIFT seems pretty chaotic as far as the Rifting goes.  I am still pretty low level, but I don't think anyone really cares all that much about stealing boss mobs.  There are dungeons and what not also that have more formal grouping.  The Rifting is a nice break from "Kill X wolves" or "fedex this from a to b" quests.  It allows a nice variety.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/30/08
Posts: 1221

3/04/11 6:03:48 PM#22

The trouble is, these days there is a hardcore vs casual mindset.

The hardcore will cry and bitch and moan about anything (like this) that helps casual players actually have fun in MMORPGs.

But at the same time, it's pretty much this same attitude that has forced things like this to become necessary. Hard core/elitists never want to group with anyone outside their friends list or guild.

LOTRO is a perfect example. It's got a lot of group content, but no one ever wants to group outside of their guild. Or talk even. You can be lined up to kill a boss for a quest, even but people just will not group to kill it together.

R.I.P. City of Heroes and my 17 characters there

  User Deleted
3/04/11 8:04:24 PM#23

When I look at the second to last screenshot, the one above the baby, I think to myself: 'where the hell is the game, hidden behind the add-ons?'

When I look at screens that are similar to that it is just one more reason that I think add-ons are a problem, security issues aside. At that point and points close to it you lose the feel of the game, you lose the game world, and are just looking at a bunch of  charts and numbers. I understand completely that it can be helpful and make difficult encounters easier but at the cost of losing the game to some kind of frantic math session.

I know that this isn't relevant to the content of this post but since the screen was there I thought I'd say something about it. I pray to God that add-ons do not come to RIFT.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/12/06
Posts: 407

3/04/11 8:10:07 PM#24

yea, I agree I liked the open group concept.  Personally, I still think the holy grail is to be found but doesn't shake any of the good off the open group concept.


Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/06
Posts: 978

3/04/11 8:30:34 PM#25

Rift has the open group just right, easy to use, hard to abuse and generally fun.


As for dungeon groups, the soul system and the ability to acquire more souls and "roles" also helps a lot. Need a tank? Fine I can click a button and adopt "Tank" role. Need DPS? No problem, swap role again and you can DPS. In my Cleric's case I can tank, heal or DPS as the need arises.


It's a vey flexible system that allows group places to be filled easliy and quickly. It's a fun game and well worth trying out.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/09/05
Posts: 534

3/04/11 9:14:17 PM#26
Originally posted by an0maly33

"humdrum of Rift"?!?!

I played eq1 since kunark released and loved it.  That said, I can't play it anymore.  It feels SO kludgy and out of date that it's impossible for me to immerse myself in it.  I would honestly be better off in a straight up text adventure.  When something as simple as mouse look is all messed up (fast right/left motion but horrendously slow vertical), I just can't do it.  

And I'm not sure which game YOU played, but it wasn't Rift that's humdrum.  It does indeed have elements we've seen before, but the level of polish and the addition of little details makes me go "Why the hell haven't developers been doing THAT this whole time?!"

Anyway, I love the Rift grouping model.  Oh look, there's a rift!  *button pops up to join the group already in the area*  Ok good work everyone! drop group and go about my business.  I can even merge my group into that existing group, just can't pull the group back out when we're done.  If they had a way to "group leave" to preserve your original membership that would be fantastic.

It also comes in handy when some d-bag is trying to ninja a boss that you had to fight off 10 trash mobs to get to.  Click the offending a-hole, merge your "group" (1 player) with his and bam. You get credit too.

Well this topic isn't actually about how the games play...even though Rift is humdrum tediousness. This topic is about PUGs versus automatic grouping systems.

Modern MMOs are all about quests and it is that that inhibits the grouping mechanic in MMOs. People aren't going into dungeons specifically to have fun, although fun can be a by product of what they are there for. What they are there for is a very specific goal, be it a kill or a drop, that they need for a quest. What causes problems with PUGs is that more often than not every person is at a different stage or some have even finished a quest when others haven't. It's therefore difficult to get people together  that are after the same thing. Player A won't want to help player B catch up, for example.

In that case it is the questing emchanic of the game that is restrictuive to grouping, not problems associated with getting people together. Getting people together is easy, though it does seem more often the case in this day and age that making people get on in MMOs is harder. All these examples of why PUGing is hard or problematic are just excuses. The problems are these tedious game mechanics that keep popping up in MMOs.

Like I said I have been playing EQ again for the last three weeks. In that time I have had plenty of splendid PUGs. Last weekend I spent something like 5 or 6 hours in a group in a few dungeons. I had a blast and everyone got on superbly. Just now I had a group in Lavastorm with quite a few changes to the group make up. Never were we inconvenienced (unless you count multiple groups in one spot due to population) and replacements were quick and easy to find. EQ has none of this quest rubbish, where achievements are the erason for grouping. EQ is a game where you get together with likeminded people to just have fun. There are no objectives bar the obtaining of maybe some armour and the next level.

PUGs work and EQ is aperfect example of it. It is dull, repetetive and same old, same old mechanics in every single MMO that have ruined grouping and made these open group systems necessary.


I'll finish by quoting a friend. I'm sure he won't mind. Just because a game tricks the mind by providing open grouping, it doesn't mean it is good grouping. Good grouping is getting together with friends or people you just met and having any amount of time's fun and remembering it the next day...or even the next month. Hell, I remember groups from EQ 7 years ago. I don't remember a single second of the time I spent in any group in was just quest grinding that I happened to need a little help for.

All hail the Pixel, for it is glorious Orange!


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/06/10
Posts: 478

3/04/11 10:01:59 PM#27

oh wow thaty 4th pic is just blinding. what i mean is its stupid. why even bother playing a game you cant see for icons and tabs. thats not a game its a websight thats interactive. with just far far too many buttons and options.


not simple enough to many skills to many other things on the screen at the same time.


el crapo!! wont be playing rift purely on this basis. its just another wow!!


Novice Member

Joined: 10/09/05
Posts: 534

3/04/11 11:14:18 PM#28
Originally posted by Adamai

oh wow thaty 4th pic is just blinding. what i mean is its stupid. why even bother playing a game you cant see for icons and tabs. thats not a game its a websight thats interactive. with just far far too many buttons and options.


not simple enough to many skills to many other things on the screen at the same time.


el crapo!! wont be playing rift purely on this basis. its just another wow!!


Err I'm pretty sure that is WoW.


But, yes, Rift does look pretty much the same.

All hail the Pixel, for it is glorious Orange!


Novice Member

Joined: 5/30/04
Posts: 432


3/05/11 12:38:48 AM#29

MMO already has massive in it, what MMOs miss these days is RPG part. Every MMO full of dumb grind. Take any MMORPG today and its full of grind... Make some story developers! Raids and PvP is not everything. Thanks Bioware finally will release first MMO that really has RPG part in it... Every other MMO - sucks buttocks. Played a lot of other MMOs, everything is grind.



Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14569

3/05/11 2:09:53 AM#30
Originally posted by holifeet

 A lengthy group deep in the depths of some dungeon and with people you only met two hours ago will always be fun.

That's what blows up your whole argument.  You assume that everyone has at least two hours that they can set aside to play continuously.  A lot of people have other real-life responsibilities that make it impractical to do that more than once in a while.

Spending ten minutes to get a group if you're going to then spend a few hours doing something with that group isn't so bad.  If you've only got half an hour available, then spending ten minutes to get a group is a big problem.  And if you've got half an hour available and it sometimes takes 45 minutes to get a group together, well, it's time to quit and find a different game to play.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/20/10
Posts: 1225

3/05/11 5:32:32 AM#31

Great article!

I do like my fair share of grouping, soloing constantly gets boring unless my time is extremely limited. The problem to me for EQ1 was that outside of a couple of classes, you couldn't solo at all. I like having flexibility of choice. If I know that I will only be able to play for an hour, I usually do not bother getting a group. If I do have time to play a lot, I get a group. I don't usually find it that difficult to scrounge one up, though I do remember the times in AO where I could spend easily 40 minutes waiting for a doc the right level to log in.

In WAR, the PQs really shone, though it could be a bit daunting to be in an area when a PQ just started and get swamped by mobs. The added benefit was that those who contributed the most to completing the PQ in all of its stages got a chance to get loot. Those people who just happened by towards the end would get nothing but xp. I enjoyed the open grouping system, especially in RvR. I'm guessing Rift is the same?

In WoW on the otherhand, the DF tool makes it trivial to group up but the problem is its cross-serverness. In most games, I find my ingame friends by grouping up and starting to talk. Once we realize we've got common interests and like each other, then guild invites are proferred or we /friend each other and group in the future. It's a very good way to make strong community ties. I find that the DF tool undermines this because you end up with people from other servers that you will most likely never see again. With no alternative, you can't really make friends in the game like one could before.

I'm pretty happy in EQ2. I moved onto the Crushbone server and find it not so bad for grouping, even before the server merge. With the server merge, it has gotten even better. The mentoring and AA system really is conducive to people mixing it up with characters of lower level though, and that is something that I think is outstanding in this game.

Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.

  User Deleted
3/05/11 6:24:49 AM#32
Personally im not really against open grouping. However im very much against open grouping being used as a replacement for your traditional group content - Rift being a shining example of this. The notion that open groups where a group of people all happen upon the same area and co-operate is slightly misleading - the content is so dumbed down and straight forward that it just requires force of numbers and little else in order to achieve it, generally playing out the same way each time. Content where everyone is in a group but essentially continues to do their solo thing is neither rewarding or what I would call group content.
Zerg content would be more appropriate, and its not really for me.
The sad thing about Rift is that in theory with its class system it could have mitigated some of the issues with the traditional class/group system. It would have been much easier to get groups going as people could switch roles around in order to make the group work. The game is so relentlessly focused on solo questing though group content has been sidelined.
For me group content is about classes working together, fulfilling their roles and succeeding because of this. Its about overpulls and getting through it by the skin of your teeth because everyone pulled out all stops and excelled.
Your anonymous zerg content does not have this - generally the answer isn't to approach it differently or change tactics, its simply to wait for more people to turn up.
As in the rest of our world this desperation to cater to the lowest common denominator, with fear of excluding anyone, does nothing but water things down for everyone.

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/31/09
Posts: 152

3/05/11 9:07:14 AM#33

     I personally think that open grouping will soon be an essential mechanic for MMO's.  It's a way to get players who are new into groups for things that they may not have been able to group for alone.  There can be issues with under-geared players being added to more elite groups, but it only becomes a problem if the group members are elitist douche bags, and grief that player rather than politely explaining that they're not ready for that high level content.  Conversely, you could also have problems if said player is an arrogant l337 noob, and goes Charlie Sheen on the group for rejecting him.

     On a side note, I totally agree with Ysharros about that 4th pic.  Seriously, how the F*CK can someone play with so much crap on the screen?!  You can't even see the characters, LOL!   


Novice Member

Joined: 9/08/05
Posts: 87

"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks" -- Dorothy Parker

3/05/11 10:02:32 AM#34

Ysh = Iz.Parsley ;) 

I just wanted to see if I could coax SBFord out into the light. :D  I can just about see again, anyway.

Looking at it again, I probably have that many screen elements going when I'm doing the PvP stuff in WoW these days; the difference is, I have a 28" monitor and play at 1920x1200 as opposed to whatever weedgie rez is being used in that screenie. I don't think I could stand to have that many elements crowding the main part of my screen.


Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 20039

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

3/05/11 10:15:32 AM#35

I enjoy the open grouping in Rift, and maybe someone else invented it, but Trion's mastered it.

Yet, while I do enjoy grouping up for Rift events, there's still so much activity going on (very fast and furious trying to get your participation points) that there's zero time to chat with your new "friends" at all.

Still need to figure out a cure for that problem.

Arrogant, Condescending, Dismissive, Elitist, "Meany", you speak as if these are bad things?
Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon



Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14569

3/05/11 12:17:08 PM#36

The proper question about open grouping in Rift isn't, how does it work today?  That doesn't particularly matter.  The proper question is, how will it work in a year, once players have figured out the quirks and how to game the system, and the playerbase has spread out a lot more?  And for that, we don't know.  It is highly probable that there will be some glaring problems with Rift's open grouping system a year from now that simply aren't apparent today.


Some games do have inexcusably bad grouping mechanisms.  And that does need to be improved upon in many games, as the article discusses.  Sometimes there is simply no practical way to communicate and find the other people who want to do what you want to do.  In WoW, I typically had to resort to using /who to find players of the appropriate level, and then sending unsolicited /tells to them.

Worse, some games split the playerbase so that even if players want to group and do particular content at the same time, they're stuck on different severs and can't.  Some people like rigidly separate servers, claiming that it lets you get to know the other people on your server.  But that only lets a handful of the hard-core players get to know each other.  The overwhelming majority of the playerbase doesn't get any such effect, and will nearly always have to group with strangers, anyway.

Level differences or gear differences are another major problem.  If there are 500 people on the server looking for a group, but only 20 of them can reasonably group with you because of level and/or gear differences, then that makes it much harder to find a viable group--especially as those 20 may want to do very different content.

And then there is travel time.  If it takes 5 minutes to find people who will agree to group with you, and then 15 minutes for them to travel to the dungeon entrance, then it takes 20 minutes to get a group.  For the large majority of the playerbase that doesn't routinely spend hours at a time playing the game, that's a horrible thing to do.


But often, the bigger problem is bad content design.  Game companies design content that works great if you have a particular group composition.  The problem is that the needed group composition is one that cannot and will not be readily available.

One way that this happens is by requiring a group composition that doesn't reflect what portions of the playerbase want to do the content.  For example, if a dungeon requires a 6-man group and is built for two healers, two tanks, and two damage dealers, then what happens if only 20% of the people who want to do the dungeon are healers, and 50% are damage dealers?

This can easily vary from one dungeon to another.  What if one dungeon has a couple of really great gear drops for healers, while another has nothing of interest to healers at all?  Maybe there will be too many healers who want to do the former, and not enough for the latter.

Another problem is that of splitting the playerbase too broadly.  What happens if there are a hundred different things that players group for, all of which require a five man group, and 300 players looking to group for something?  For an awful lot of the players looking for a group, there simply won't be five players out there looking for a group for the same content.  And even if there are eight people looking for such a group, three have to be left out and stuck without a group.

I'd submit that the problem is that games often start by designing content with particular group compositions in mind, and then only consider how players will actually get such groups after the fact, if at all.   Trying to match players for groups when there aren't enough players or they have the wrong proportions of classes is an intractible problem.  If you have such badly designed content, then no grouping mechanism can fix it.

If you're going to make group content that is easily playable on the game's live servers, then it has to be done the other way around.  You start by saying, this is how players can assemble groups.  And then, once you have some idea of what sort of groups players will easily be able to form, then you design content to be doable by those groups.

But even this is very hard to do.  If you're going to have content that only a few people want to start a group for at any given moment in time, then those few people have to be the appropriate number and class composition, regardless of what they are.  And note that it's often only the ones looking to join a group for particular content, not everyone looking to do do that particular content.  If want to do a particular dungeon, it doesn't help you a bit if there is a group already formed and full and 20 minutes into it.

Making most group compositions viable means you have to either get away from the healer/tank/damage dealer scheme, let players readily switch their role on the fly (and be perfectly good at their new role, too!), or be able to conjure up arbitrary extra AI party members as needed.  It also means that the content has to either readily scale to an arbitrary number of players or else, again, allow you to conjure up arbitrary extra AI party members.

Guild Wars managed to make this work by allowing henchmen and heroes, so that you could grab a few players with reasonable builds, without any care for whether they complemented each other, and then fill in the holes with heroes.

Guild Wars 2 is going to try to make it work by making dynamic events scale to arbitrarily many players, and having no dedicated class roles, so that nearly any group composition should be viable.  Rift tries to do the same thing with the rifts scaling to arbitrarily many players, and allowing players to change their role by changing which souls they're using.

But this is very hard to do, too.  What do you do about players who show up and are simply the wrong level, or have the wrong gear?  What about players who are in the area, but not actively fighting?  Something that works well on launch day when everyone is trying to play the system as it was intended to be used may not work well a year later when half of the low level players are trying to abuse the system any way they can, in order to level as quickly as possible.

And scaling content is difficult to do properly, as you'll inevitably make the content much harder with some numbers of players than other numbers.  Having twice as many players and twice as many mobs doesn't often leave the difficulty unchanged, as there are area attacks and debuffs, group heals, and so forth.  And how do you scale a single boss like that?  For any content that is remotely difficult, players will figure out that this number of party members works better than that one, and refuse to form groups of the "hard" sizes--and then your content no longer scales with the number of players involved.


This is wandering off-topic somewhat, but the reason for the popularity of solo content often isn't that people dislike grouping for its own sake.  It's that you can usually do solo content by just logging on and playing.  If the alternative is to spend half of your time sitting there looking for a group, then being able to spend all of your time playing the game for real is an attractive option.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/24/06
Posts: 2702

"Some do , Some don''t , Others just cry"

Jean Sali

3/05/11 12:43:14 PM#37

Sadly I think we may be close to the end with respect to MMOs..... The whole adventure and social gaming aspect has all but gone. No community no gameplay , just insta mass ganks and troops appearing out of no where.

The next triple AAA title coming out (SWTOR) goes down the other route with groups from what I can see and aligns more with gameplay and some sense of being we will have to see.

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that if you wnat to play a good game you have to find a good MUD. As most fo the games at the momemnt seem infested with insta end game no persistance required players.

The games are so paint by numbers these days that why have an immersive massive world, because in context it doesnt really matter unless some complexity and gameplay exists and a need to form communities.

Rift is fun but in no way should be classed as an MMO or RPG maybe a never ending gank fest but not a lot more, it doesn't offer up a real persistant world in any way. Fun for some but not a good MMORPG... not a lot of thought required.

SWTOR and COS games that could deliver !!


Novice Member

Joined: 8/21/09
Posts: 450

3/06/11 1:54:25 PM#38
Originally posted by Ysharros

PS -- I don't usually know what the article pix will be till they're in -- and OMG that 4th one! My eyes! They bleed!

I was wondering how anyone could play with their UI like that, lol ^^  Busy, busy, busy would be an understatement.


Another enjoyable article.  The ability to hop in and out of Rifts is one of the main things that drew me to Rift, and I also enjoyed that aspect of Warhammer.  Like you, I don't have the time to log into a game and then spend ages getting a group together for a specific task.  When WoW was my home, and I ran a lovely guild there, grouping for instances etc was fun and relatively easy using to arrange using our website and ventrilo.  I tend to mmo-hop these days, though, so I don't have the same network of players to draw on for grouping. 


It certainly works well for me being able to easily join and leave groups in order to have that sense of working together for a common goal without the arduous hassle of spending hours lfg.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/09/05
Posts: 534

3/06/11 3:30:21 PM#39
Originally posted by Isane

Sadly I think we may be close to the end with respect to MMOs..... The whole adventure and social gaming aspect has all but gone. No community no gameplay , just insta mass ganks and troops appearing out of no where.

The next triple AAA title coming out (SWTOR) goes down the other route with groups from what I can see and aligns more with gameplay and some sense of being we will have to see.

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that if you wnat to play a good game you have to find a good MUD. As most fo the games at the momemnt seem infested with insta end game no persistance required players.

The games are so paint by numbers these days that why have an immersive massive world, because in context it doesnt really matter unless some complexity and gameplay exists and a need to form communities.

Rift is fun but in no way should be classed as an MMO or RPG maybe a never ending gank fest but not a lot more, it doesn't offer up a real persistant world in any way. Fun for some but not a good MMORPG... not a lot of thought required.


Sadly I think you are almost right, Isane. The social heart and soul has gone out of MMOs and I can't see them getting much better unless either GW2 or SWTOR can do something to change it.


There is hope on the horizon though, in the form of Archeage, and the behemoth that is EQ has got it spot on with Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak Aerr. I was actually chating about how the social side of MMos has disappeared from the genre these days just yesterday. Both myself and the person I was chatting to couldn't help but agree that EQ had a social aspect to it that none of these latest MMOs has. Where else can you find people willing to go out of their way to help you just because they want to?


Not in Rift, for certain. One of my most resolute memories of my time in Rift was how I decided to join in on a rift that was being tackled by just two people. When I joined in they hung back and let me get annihalated by the first mob I tackled. This was an elite rift and I stood no chance. I figured they just wanted this content to themselves. And one of those people was someone that had been a member of the Rift community since the new forums open up in April last year, not a new breed of MMO player certainly.


I'll stick with EQ and hope that maybe there's a brave development team out there that are willing to do what seems to be so frowned upon of late. That is to bring back the social heart of MMOs rather than having to resort to false mechanisms such as open grouping.

All hail the Pixel, for it is glorious Orange!


Novice Member

Joined: 4/25/07
Posts: 1177

3/06/11 8:40:27 PM#40
Originally posted by holifeet
Originally posted by Isane

Rift is fun but in no way should be classed as an MMO or RPG maybe a never ending gank fest but not a lot more, it doesn't offer up a real persistant world in any way. Fun for some but not a good MMORPG... not a lot of thought required.


Sadly I think you are almost right, Isane. The social heart and soul has gone out of MMOs and I can't see them ge


I'll stick with EQ and hope that maybe there's a brave development team out there that are willing to do what seems to be so frowned upon of late. That is to bring back the social heart of MMOs rather than having to resort to false mechanisms such as open grouping.

 Sorry about cutting down those posts, scroll up to read them all, because they're pretty good.

The great irony in the death of EQ is that people hated the grinding.  They tried out WoW and found that the game mechanics were almost infinetily more satisfying... then six months later they realized that they hadn't made a lot of good friends like they did in Everquest, because they simply weren't forced to group, and weren't forced to sit around and wait for the Cleric's mana bar to fill.

I am enjoying the heck out of Rift - but you can get to max level in Rift without ever speaking another word to another player.  I've had one or two good groups, and I've been playing since Beta.

WoW is even worse.  When you use the dungeon finder tool, the only thing people talk about is loot.

Eve, as I understand it, is a slower paced game where interacting with other players in a friendly manner is encouraged, if not necessary, and it seems to do fine.

I don't mind playing a game for 30 hours a week (ok I don't have that much time anymore, maybe 20?) and not being to level cap 3 months before the next expansion.  I want to be challenged, and be challenged with my social and communication skills.  I don't really have any faith in EQ Next to do this - I think that they'll probably try to out-WoW, WoW, but it would be cool if we had another slower paced, challenging MMO were you had to be social to gear yourself, level and enjoy the game.

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