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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Enjoy Grouping?

Posted by MikeB Sunday January 13 2013 at 10:29PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Do you enjoy grouping up?" by Enerzeal. A simple enough thread, Enerzeal polls the community on their stance on grouping in MMOs:

This is a very simple thread, and at the same time one that will no doubt baffle me. The question is simple, do you like to group up, or do you prefer to stick to yourself in an MMO? 

Sub question - Do you get involved with guilds beyond guild benefits, when I say benefits I mean EXP increasees, drop rate bonuses etc, not the bonuses of having a group of raiders/people you know and can play with well.

SwampRob enjoys grouping, but with one caveat:

I like grouping up only if it's entirely optional.   By that I mean not just content.   If there are tangible benefits to my character's power for being in a guild, then I consider that mandatory.

"You can't attempt this task unless you have at least X friends with you..." is my most hated statement in MMOs.

If I group up because the game demands it, them I'm resentful the entire time I'm in that group.   That's bound to make me more irritable and less welcoming of others.

I can determine my willingness to even attempt a new game with two questions:

1.  Is PvP optional?   If not, I'm gone.

2.  Is there forced grouping?   If yes, I'm gone.

Czanrei is a bit old school (and proud!):

Call me traditional, but I enjoy grouping because its an MMO, not a single-player video game. I cannot stand the direction modern devs are going with making soloing optional and even going so far to allow players to join multiple guilds. 

greenreen clearly falls into the solo camp:

Not really.

There are enough reasons that I could make a 14+ page PDF on it.

As you notice, I'm on a forum instead of being in a chatroom talking about it. Distinct proof that I want to come and go as I please and not be forced to interact or entertain during silence when I can do other things like have this video on in the background and my code up that I can switch back and forth from.

I'm a social creature, so yes, I thoroughly enjoy grouping. Oftentimes when I play an MMO (or any game really) my favorite thing to do is to share the experience with others. If there's potential for all this cool stuff to happen in these games, what's the point without anyone to share it with? Generally, this means I play with friends nowadays. At the same time, I do thoroughly enjoy meeting new people in MMOs and going on adventures with them.

Unfortunately, grouping in most contemporary MMOs often only happens when all parties involved have some sort of selfish motivation to do so. The game is forcing you to do it to get through X Y or Z, for example. When I first played Star Wars Galaxies, there were a whole host of things I could do solo if I felt like it. But if I wanted to go on some truly epic adventures, say, to Ft. Tusken, I'd have to join a party,. The difference is that doing Ft. Tusken itself was entirely optional, so everyone there was really just there for the fun of it and potential for gobs of experience. When the game naturally encourages (but doesn't force) players to group, I find the potential for a positive group experience to be much greater.

How do you feel about grouping up in MMOs? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!