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Discussion by Dev leads in another thread lead me to this game for the first time. The idea of a PVE based game with content tailored to the individual player is intriguing, even if I question the practicality based on today's technology. (more on that in another thread)
I haven't read much yet, I went back and read some of the early posts "about this game", poked around the FAQ design a bit, and saw things I liked and didn't like. Rather than criticize based on my preconceived notions I do want to ask some questions around the social aspects of the game.
There's a variety of game mechanics that have been employed by previous games to 'encourage' players to group together. This has ranges from providing greater (or faster) rewards in terms of experience gain or loot, to outright forced grouping, where the player content cannot be mastered unless one is grouped, sometimes in very large raid scenarios.
Some of the early FAQ materials I've read have mentioned that CoS will offer players a variety of play styles and that all quests/content will be soloable or can be done by a group. (quite a feat if you can pull that off, but not my question)
What I really want to know is, why will I want to group with others rather than run the content solo? Players have shown that for the most part, all things being equal, they will solo rather than group unless there is some reward for going through the effort (and yes, sometimes this is a very real effort, which isn't a bad thing) to form a group.
DAOC had this. You could solo if you liked, but the real rewards in the game came from forming groups (I like the fact you are going with an 8 man group btw) and mastering content together.
Of course, that's an experience/level based game and I haven't read enough about CoS to determine how player progression is managed. But that again is topic for another thread.
So why would I group? What advantage will I get? Please don't say its just an option for me and my friends to do if we want to, I don't have any friends. I don't want any friends. I only team up with others if there is an enlightened self interest to do so, that benefits all parties involved.
You might think I'm anti-social, not really, notice my post count here, and I assure you, its much the same with any guild I'm a member of. But I don't count these folks as friends, we work together because there's an in game reason to do so, nothing more.
So will CoS have an in game reason to group? Because as mentioned by some other folks in other posts in this forum, social aspects of MMO's are very important, and the solo/instanced design of the game concerns me. I've become the member of many a clan by hunting in a PUG group or assisting people in trouble (rezzing the dead who pulled more than they barganed for) in more open world games and grouping up with people on a regular basis is just one of the many mechanics that can encourage socialization. (along with forced downtime, common enemies and some others)
I'm very leery of games that are focused on solo content (what game isn't these days) and I'd be interested to know your thoughts on this since you seemed to have been around the block for awhile.
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