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3D Vision, your favourite MMO seen thrue the NVIDIA 3D VISION Glasses

I discontinued my old blog "random ideas for mmos" to blog about a couple of tests playing various MMOs with NVIDIAs new 3D-Vision Shutter Glasses.

Author: craynlon

RIFNG 6 : a MMORPG without groups ?

Posted by craynlon Monday October 6 2008 at 2:43AM
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its been a while since i tortured you with my ideas how MMOing could evolve but playing WAR for a few weeks made me think: "Do we really need groups in MMORPGs ?"

heres my personal history of groups/ grouping:

in the stone age there was pen&paper(& dice)
you got together with a few friends, there was these guy called game-master who in contrast to modern day mmos told the story in contrast to being a service technician. in 99.9% the guys around your ling room table was "the group". if someone asked you "hey, can i come play on Sunday?" you wouldn't say: "sorry our group only allows 6 people" and only very rarely the gm would have another group in your living room playing with them both. and if he would he wouldn't make 2 different group chats if they were in the same room.

in the bronze age there were single player rpgs
"pool of radiance", "dungeon master", "baldurs gate" adopted the pen&paper rpg to the pc and tried to simulate it. the gm and dies were replaced by program and CPU and since it was a in the pre-internet area you would play the game alone in front of your computer. to have a group feeling you could invite a number of npc to your party and basically play/command them all. since the game would have been to easy if you would rush a dungeon with a group of 50 henchmen the group size was limited to around 4-8 characters.

then came MMORPG
they basically took from single player rpgs and replaced all the npc by player characters.
as of today i cant think of an MMORPG that doesn't allow the grouping of players into some sidebar where you can see little portraits of your group mates along with their health, buffs...

my question is if this group mechanism is really necessary or:
could there be a MMORPG without groups ?

don't get me wrong, this isn't about the question if people should work together at a team. this is fundamental to MMO and the reason why we play the MMs in the first place. my question is directed to wads finding alternatives to a static, limited in number grouping system, the group sidebar.
my question are:
-shouldn't all characters in the same room hear what a character says (if its not a whisper)
-shouldn't all followers of (insert your deity here) get buffed by a prayer if they are close to the priest ?
-shouldn't all people be able to get loot from a slain monster if they were near by (or for the sake of peace helped kill it)

- shouldn't a tank be able to have a watchful eye on a priest even if they are not technically grouped together ?

lets see why we see the group bar as a necessity in on-line games and what mechanism could replace it:
1. group chat:
should be replaced by local chat anyway. guild-chat and whispers are fine but group chat seems a contradiction to realism. just throw it out and make people here whats been said around them regardless of grouping
2. buffing/ healing:
area heals/buffs should be just that: an area effect
area buffs could also be limited to people of a certain believe (deity) or fraction (your guild)
single heals could be spotted visually, i.e. if the base marker of someone goes red he needs heal, or better yet have healers really work for their money spotting people that bleed, limp or have any other kind of visual wounds.
to help healers watch out for a single target (i.e. the tank) maybe allow healers to have their own grouping feature called "healers eyes" where he puts people on watch and gets alerted when they need heal
3. loot/xp distribution
warhammers PQ system seems to work nicely on that regard (at least there doesn't seem to be big drama about it). you get a chance on loot depending how much you contributed. apparently they found a system not only based on damage to the mob but includes healing, buffing, tanking as well. maybe it needs some tweaking but generally it shows it can be done.
in a more harsh environment you could also go with a "grab what you can get" loot system as i often experienced in my pen&paper days where the thieve asked me to make a roll to quickly grab a ring from the treasure without his companions noticing it.
4. other mechanism
whenever a player needs o follow/watch another player he could include that person to his personal watch list. this list would be pretty much similar to the group bar you have ATM (maybe smaller or larger but not limited) to get quick infos about those people.

in short, i didn't find a reason yet why this typical 6-man group sidebar exists from MMO to MMO where i see it as historical ballast from single player rpg games

Eluwien writes:

Darkfal. Groups are mere closed chat for the friends you want to chat with, in private. Everything else is aoe and ff is on.

It works in a game which content is not linear and designed to match certain group size, so its a huge designing decission to go without groups. Also effectively activates zerging and by doing that the game becomes ufnair for the carebear noob and turns into "niche". I'm cool with that

Mon Oct 06 2008 3:55AM Report
craynlon writes:

well if people would want to have instances where they would enter a dungeon on  a complex quest with their friends only there could be a "share treasuremap with..." function or a simple "share quest".

that would give the people with the flag quest knowlege a chance to do that quest in a group like style.
zerging a quest in pve like that could balance it out by itselve since people that got the quest may not want to share the info/loot with to many people.

as for zerging in pvp its rather irrelevant if u get zerged by 5 groups or 30 individuals ;)

Mon Oct 06 2008 6:18AM Report
Loke666 writes:

The share the loot with everyone close options needs some thinking, otherwise we see a whole new type of camping...

But, yes groups are not a must for a game but I like the classic RPG groups, you have a thief for the traps and pick locks, a warrior or 2 to melee fighting, mage for some magic and a cleric for healing. But say works fine instead of a groupchat, sure.

The MMO groups do need some thinking, the classic tank, DPS and healer could be better.

Mon Oct 06 2008 6:22AM Report
Cesarkan writes:

This is actualy an interesting and nesecery thread I have been thinking about this myself.

How menny times have you not been forced to stay aout of an instance or group becuse there where no need fore your class or no room at all.

How menny times have you not missed that special moment when your guild takes down that last boss in the raid instance becuse your internet crashed or what ever right before you culd sign up fore the event or got late and there whas no room becuse you got replaced?.

Well heres an solution to the problem, why not let the instnace or raid respond to how menny players your actualy got in teh group? make the mobs a bit harder or less hard if needed be or increase the number of mobs you encounter also add a bit more chanse of getting loot or more items. This wold mean that you culd go in with your whole guild if you wanted to a raid that wold normely take about 40 people adn this wold mean that no one in a guild wold be left aout jsut becuse there where no room and personaly I wold LOVE to go in a raid or instance with the whole guild:).


Mon Oct 06 2008 8:03AM Report writes:
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