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[Column] General: A Team Effort

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,609MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

As games today become increasingly "single-player friendly", the idea of group content seems to be fading away as an integral part of the story. In today's Devil's Advocate, we talk about the importance of grouping and much more. See what we've got to say before heading to the comments to continue the discussion.

I’ve done grouped content before, and I’m lucky enough to have made numerous blogging friends with different communities in games. At the same time, I seem to have developed a particular negative perception to being forced to do cooperative content like dungeons in order to get back to my usual style of play, which is to enjoy the storylines of MMORPGs.

I’m certainly a strange one for enjoying MMORPGs despite preferring solo play, I suppose. Why not discuss it for bit with me, dear readers?

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Devil's Advocate: A Team Effort.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • koboldfodderkoboldfodder Danbury, DEPosts: 390Member Uncommon

    Can't have it both ways.

     

    Either you design a game that caters to solo players or you design a game that caters to groups.  Where you go wrong is trying to do both.  FFXIV will run into the same problem LOTRO ran into, and every other MMO has run into.  You are on a solo quest line then are forced to group to progress it.

     

    LOTRO's epic storyline quest is a prime example.  You soloed it 99% of the time, but then you needed groups for certain parts of it.  No one finished it.  Why?  Because the game was created for players to solo all the way to level cap.  Eventually they put in a buff where you became super powerful, thus enabling you to complete group quests.

     

    Why did everything work in EQ?  Because you were taught from a very early level that the only way to progress was with groups.  So when you needed to finish quests, there were people to help out.  Why?  Because they probably also had quests and at some point you were going to help them.

     

    FFXIV is a solo game.  They wanted to WOW their game, and that is what they did.  Putting in forced group quests in order to progress a main story quest is a bad idea.

     

    Do one or the other...not both.  Trying to cater to everyone IS the problem.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    I let a bad PUG get me down
  • Segun777Segun777 Jade Dynasty Correspondent Lemont, PAPosts: 97Member
    SE knows how to do group content well as anyone who has played FFXI knows. I am looking forward to see how they strike the balance between solo-friendly and group content.
  • MondoA2JMondoA2J Henderson, NVPosts: 258Member

    I share similar horror stories of bad groups.

    Its one of the reasons I stopped enjoying MMOs as much. Whats the point of playing one if it isn't to play with other people?

    Just play a single player game in that case. With ARR I did enjoy my group experience I have to say. I ponder whats its like in other countries with MMOs.

    MMORPG Gamers/Developers need a reality check!

  • RazeeksterRazeekster Solon, MEPosts: 2,201Member Uncommon
    FFXIV has some really fun dungeons though so I don't mind. A lot of people complained about how the dungeons were timed but I thought that provided more of a challenge. I guess people are just lazy now...

    Smile

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,474Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by koboldfodder

    Can't have it both ways.

     

    Either you design a game that caters to solo players or you design a game that caters to groups.  Where you go wrong is trying to do both.  FFXIV will run into the same problem LOTRO ran into, and every other MMO has run into.  You are on a solo quest line then are forced to group to progress it.

     

    LOTRO's epic storyline quest is a prime example.  You soloed it 99% of the time, but then you needed groups for certain parts of it.  No one finished it.  Why?  Because the game was created for players to solo all the way to level cap.  Eventually they put in a buff where you became super powerful, thus enabling you to complete group quests.

     

    Why did everything work in EQ?  Because you were taught from a very early level that the only way to progress was with groups.  So when you needed to finish quests, there were people to help out.  Why?  Because they probably also had quests and at some point you were going to help them.

     

    FFXIV is a solo game.  They wanted to WOW their game, and that is what they did.  Putting in forced group quests in order to progress a main story quest is a bad idea.

     

    Do one or the other...not both.  Trying to cater to everyone IS the problem.

     City of Heroes.  There has not been a game, for me, where soloing and grouping were so doable.  This is an example that breaks your rule imo.

  • RazeeksterRazeekster Solon, MEPosts: 2,201Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by koboldfodder

    Can't have it both ways.

     

    Either you design a game that caters to solo players or you design a game that caters to groups.  Where you go wrong is trying to do both.  FFXIV will run into the same problem LOTRO ran into, and every other MMO has run into.  You are on a solo quest line then are forced to group to progress it.

     

    LOTRO's epic storyline quest is a prime example.  You soloed it 99% of the time, but then you needed groups for certain parts of it.  No one finished it.  Why?  Because the game was created for players to solo all the way to level cap.  Eventually they put in a buff where you became super powerful, thus enabling you to complete group quests.

     

    Why did everything work in EQ?  Because you were taught from a very early level that the only way to progress was with groups.  So when you needed to finish quests, there were people to help out.  Why?  Because they probably also had quests and at some point you were going to help them.

     

    FFXIV is a solo game.  They wanted to WOW their game, and that is what they did.  Putting in forced group quests in order to progress a main story quest is a bad idea.

     

    Do one or the other...not both.  Trying to cater to everyone IS the problem.

     

    I don't think you understand how FFXIV is set up though. It is set up to be basically a tutorial until endgame. It disguises it very well through the main story and class story, but what it is doing is teaching you how to play your class properly for endgame. That's why it has sprinkled throughout it the need to team up with others.  Yoshi has also already explained as much.

    Smile

  • steamtanksteamtank Rochester, NYPosts: 385Member
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by koboldfodder

    Can't have it both ways.

     

    Either you design a game that caters to solo players or you design a game that caters to groups.  Where you go wrong is trying to do both.  FFXIV will run into the same problem LOTRO ran into, and every other MMO has run into.  You are on a solo quest line then are forced to group to progress it.

     

    LOTRO's epic storyline quest is a prime example.  You soloed it 99% of the time, but then you needed groups for certain parts of it.  No one finished it.  Why?  Because the game was created for players to solo all the way to level cap.  Eventually they put in a buff where you became super powerful, thus enabling you to complete group quests.

     

    Why did everything work in EQ?  Because you were taught from a very early level that the only way to progress was with groups.  So when you needed to finish quests, there were people to help out.  Why?  Because they probably also had quests and at some point you were going to help them.

     

    FFXIV is a solo game.  They wanted to WOW their game, and that is what they did.  Putting in forced group quests in order to progress a main story quest is a bad idea.

     

    Do one or the other...not both.  Trying to cater to everyone IS the problem.

     City of Heroes.  There has not been a game, for me, where soloing and grouping were so doable.  This is an example that breaks your rule imo.

    i really enjoyed both solo and team play in CoX

  • TalinTalin West Babylon, NYPosts: 824Member

    I want difficulty that forced players to work together but remove this concept of a "group".

    Buffs should affect all allies in a certain radius; there should be no "group".

    Allow heals to work the same way and remove the need to look at 6 health bars. Let people call out when they need healing.

    Grouping should be replaced by collaboration, which should have an open system and not one based on who has invited who. If you are standing next to someone and fighting together, you are a "group".

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,975Member Uncommon

    All my best and worst memories of my 17 years of playing MMOs are from grouping. 

    And I think it is good that SE try something slightly different, I have a feeling that grouping is the part where MMOs can improve most.

    I also think that group dynamics in themselves could use some work, the trinity have more or less been the same since Meridian 59, sure, it works but I always have been annoyed how stupid it makes the mobs. There are some games that try things a bit differently, like GW2 but I still have the feeling that the group dynamic just isn't what it really should be there either.

    I played pen and paper RPG a lot longer and the combat dynamic usually feel a lot better to me there, the players feel more useful and a bad fight can be saved by a smart move from one of the players. Strategy always seems more important there, the best RPGs always makes you consider carefully what you should do next instead of just spamming your key rotation and screaming for healing.

    I also feel that there are plenty of other group dynamics that can be improved. Rewards for example, I never liked the need or greed mechanics which lead to more heated arguments than anything else I seen in MMOs. Just give the players the stuff they can use and share the stuff no-one can use randomly instead and you save us a lot of problems.

    The whole forced grouping is a rather hard question. I personally think that grouping should be encouraged, players should be able to level faster and access more rare loot in dungeons and other group content than when they solo but MMOs should give us the freedom to choose how we want to play them. 

    The real problem with forced dungeons in MMOs usually shows up a while after launch when new players and alts get a really tough time to get a group for the lower content, it will be interesting to see how SE will solve that.

    Grouping when it's good is truly awesome. :)

  • superniceguysuperniceguy AnchorheadPosts: 2,278Member Uncommon

    Solo play is important in any MMO, not to just play the game solo, but so there is always something to do to keep you logged in, waiting for people to come online. If a game always needs groups and not enough people online then you log off as you can not play the game then.

    Generally I just play with the same circle of friends online, and if they do not play and there is no solo content then I no longer play, but if I am playing a game and do solo stuff and someone comes along wants help then I can help. Without solo play I would not be online and that person would not be able to get help.

     

  • ragz45ragz45 rochester hills, MIPosts: 686Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by koboldfodder

    Can't have it both ways.

     

    Either you design a game that caters to solo players or you design a game that caters to groups.  Where you go wrong is trying to do both.  FFXIV will run into the same problem LOTRO ran into, and every other MMO has run into.  You are on a solo quest line then are forced to group to progress it.

     

    LOTRO's epic storyline quest is a prime example.  You soloed it 99% of the time, but then you needed groups for certain parts of it.  No one finished it.  Why?  Because the game was created for players to solo all the way to level cap.  Eventually they put in a buff where you became super powerful, thus enabling you to complete group quests.

     

    Why did everything work in EQ?  Because you were taught from a very early level that the only way to progress was with groups.  So when you needed to finish quests, there were people to help out.  Why?  Because they probably also had quests and at some point you were going to help them.

     

    FFXIV is a solo game.  They wanted to WOW their game, and that is what they did.  Putting in forced group quests in order to progress a main story quest is a bad idea.

     

    Do one or the other...not both.  Trying to cater to everyone IS the problem.

     QFT  this is the single largest problem with the MMO industry atm.  Dev's need to pick a stance on important points like solo vs group.  And then stick to it.  Not try and ride the line, and waffle back and forth.

  • ragz45ragz45 rochester hills, MIPosts: 686Member Uncommon
    If group play is sooo horrible, why are MOBA's like LoL so popular?  You can't ever play a Moba solo.  You can queue solo sure, but you still require other people to play.
  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,743Member Uncommon
    Players in MMOs take the path of least resistance.....The problem is that most current MMOs have made it so soloing is that path....You can succeed without needing anyone else so why have the hassle of playing with others, having them quit, demand all the loot, etc? Players know they can accomplish alot more in an hour of play solo than they can with a group, especially a PUG.
  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 530Member Uncommon

    Forced grouping for story is bad.  

     

    It may work when there are tons of people leveling but what happens when there aren't tons of people leveling anymore.  No story for you if you play during off hours?

     

    Grouping may be great, but there are 2 inherent problems with the traditional approach.

    a) Queues.  People in queues are more likely to avoid interacting with other players while waiting because they could be pulled away at any second.  Also people want to play not to wait.

    b) "L4M for dungeon, need tank & heals".  Standing around spamming chat is also not particularly good for a game.  Players want to be having fun.  The less time they spend having fun in your game the more likely they are to just leave.

     

    I think groups need to be more dynamic and group encounters need to scale.  Rewards are based on amount of participation/activity.  Players should group because it is fun to play together not because they need a certain class.  It is ok to have various kinds of group content in the game, both traditional and dynamic, but linking the single player story to non-dynamic forced grouping... not a good choice.

     

    Anyway, just my 2 cents.

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