Duos and Trios

AmatheAmathe Miami, FLMember RarePosts: 2,901
We have talked a lot about soloing versus full group content. I'm wondering how much can be done by pairs of players or half sized groups? Of course it depends on what they try to fight, level, gear, skill, and so on. But I mean generally speaking, can we expect to enjoy some content with smaller teams, even if it is just xp grinding?

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  • jpedrote52jpedrote52 Member UncommonPosts: 53
    My guess is, yes! it will work the same way soloing does, the mobs are designed around 5 players, but some mobs will be weaker or easier to deal with, so these will be the ones that smaller groups can tackle, the same way soloers can fight lower level weaker mobs.
    Scumm
  • delete5230delete5230 Member RarePosts: 4,098
    I hope so too, this is a key way to making friends by helping others. Before you know it you have a long list of people you can rely on for deeper content.
    Scumm
  • KilsinKilsin AustraliaMember RarePosts: 493
    Amathe said:
    We have talked a lot about soloing versus full group content. I'm wondering how much can be done by pairs of players or half sized groups? Of course it depends on what they try to fight, level, gear, skill, and so on. But I mean generally speaking, can we expect to enjoy some content with smaller teams, even if it is just xp grinding?
    Yes, Pantheon is being designed for small to full groups :)
    Amathedelete5230MrMelGibsondcutbi001AnthurKiori001

    Community & Web Manager | Visionary Realms, Inc.
    Visit our Development Website. | Facebook | Twitter

  • ZindaihasZindaihas Seattle, WAMember UncommonPosts: 3,626

    Has it been stated yet what the size of a full group will be?  I assume it will be six characters (eight is too many imo).  It stands to reason that you should be able to progress on less than a full a group.  If you're good, the major difference between half a group and a full one should be the speed at which you can kill mobs.

    The most basic characters necessary are a tank and a healer.  With those two, you should at least be able to stand your ground against pretty tough mobs.  Throw in a crowd controller and you can then face multiple mobs.  From there it's mostly a matter of dealing damage to crank-up the killing proficiency of your group (this is discounting peripheral tasks such as tracking and picking locks, etc.).

    Not only that, but it can be downright fun testing yourself to see what you can accomplish with only two or three people.  As much as I'm looking forward to this being a group-oriented game, I would be extremely disappointed if it took a full group just to venture out of your home town.

  • delete5230delete5230 Member RarePosts: 4,098
    Zindaihas said:

    Has it been stated yet what the size of a full group will be?  I assume it will be six characters (eight is too many imo).  It stands to reason that you should be able to progress on less than a full a group.  If you're good, the major difference between half a group and a full one should be the speed at which you can kill mobs.

    The most basic characters necessary are a tank and a healer.  With those two, you should at least be able to stand your ground against pretty tough mobs.  Throw in a crowd controller and you can then face multiple mobs.  From there it's mostly a matter of dealing damage to crank-up the killing proficiency of your group (this is discounting peripheral tasks such as tracking and picking locks, etc.).

    Not only that, but it can be downright fun testing yourself to see what you can accomplish with only two or three people.  As much as I'm looking forward to this being a group-oriented game, I would be extremely disappointed if it took a full group just to venture out of your home town.


    I would love it just like this.  I know huge amounts of players would too.

    Because my style is make one friend at a time, then another then another.  Join a Guild and make a bunch....... Before you know it, I'll finally have a reason to play for years like a true mmo :)  

    This is something lost with EVERY mmo.
  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKMember LegendaryPosts: 16,653
    Zindaihas said:

    Has it been stated yet what the size of a full group will be?  I assume it will be six characters (eight is too many imo).  It stands to reason that you should be able to progress on less than a full a group.  If you're good, the major difference between half a group and a full one should be the speed at which you can kill mobs.

    The most basic characters necessary are a tank and a healer.  With those two, you should at least be able to stand your ground against pretty tough mobs.  Throw in a crowd controller and you can then face multiple mobs.  From there it's mostly a matter of dealing damage to crank-up the killing proficiency of your group (this is discounting peripheral tasks such as tracking and picking locks, etc.).

    Not only that, but it can be downright fun testing yourself to see what you can accomplish with only two or three people.  As much as I'm looking forward to this being a group-oriented game, I would be extremely disappointed if it took a full group just to venture out of your home town.



    Actually pure tank/pure healer combos were not good in EQ1 not VG as the kill speed is far too slow.

    The best duos are some kind of  DPS/hybrid-healer

    But warrior/cleric - in EQ1 - shit duo 
  • cheyanecheyane EarthMember EpicPosts: 4,785
    edited September 23
    Yes hybrid (without the experience penalty of course) better like a druid / shadowknight team. Even a cleric/magician with the pet was better than warrior / cleric. Nothing like the Necromancer though I used to watch one just because it was so interesting take over a whole room in Guk.

    Perhaps because Everquest was my very first game and I was not confident or knowledgeable about this genre the feats necromancers could achieve on their own were like legends to me. It was a pity to watch them get reduced to mana batteries in the end raids.

    I think the best thing about Everquest was how the players used their skills in ways even the designers of the skills never expected them to use it for. This was the key to a varied stable of skills that could be innovatively applied by clever players. Kiting and reverse kiting come to mind. Once these tricks have been revealed and we have become so used to how things work some of the magic vanishes.

    I certainly hope that there is room for such discovery in Pantheon.
    Post edited by cheyane on
    Kiori001
    image
  • delete5230delete5230 Member RarePosts: 4,098
    DMKano said:
    Zindaihas said:

    Has it been stated yet what the size of a full group will be?  I assume it will be six characters (eight is too many imo).  It stands to reason that you should be able to progress on less than a full a group.  If you're good, the major difference between half a group and a full one should be the speed at which you can kill mobs.

    The most basic characters necessary are a tank and a healer.  With those two, you should at least be able to stand your ground against pretty tough mobs.  Throw in a crowd controller and you can then face multiple mobs.  From there it's mostly a matter of dealing damage to crank-up the killing proficiency of your group (this is discounting peripheral tasks such as tracking and picking locks, etc.).

    Not only that, but it can be downright fun testing yourself to see what you can accomplish with only two or three people.  As much as I'm looking forward to this being a group-oriented game, I would be extremely disappointed if it took a full group just to venture out of your home town.



    Actually pure tank/pure healer combos were not good in EQ1 not VG as the kill speed is far too slow.

    The best duos are some kind of  DPS/hybrid-healer

    But warrior/cleric - in EQ1 - shit duo 

    I never played EQ1 but I'm sure this was the case. 


    Going slightly off subject, because this reminds me of something about Vanilla WoW and other second generation mmos. 

    Tanks and healers were hard to find for three reasons, in order:

    1) Boring abilities compared to other classes.  Had to be in groups to unlock the full potential.
    2) Weak (or slow) when alone.
    3) Responsibility, and fear of screwing up in groups.
  • MendelMendel Marietta, GAMember RarePosts: 1,796
    Kilsin said:
    Amathe said:
    We have talked a lot about soloing versus full group content. I'm wondering how much can be done by pairs of players or half sized groups? Of course it depends on what they try to fight, level, gear, skill, and so on. But I mean generally speaking, can we expect to enjoy some content with smaller teams, even if it is just xp grinding?
    Yes, Pantheon is being designed for small to full groups :)
    Could you be a bit more vague?  Does small mean 2 or 5, or does that mean hobbits and gnomes will be welcome?

    How is the 'small group' content going to be protected from the full groups trying to claim all the spawns?  The simplest solution for that might mean instances, where VR can control who 'competes' for the spawns.  Another possibility (without instances) might be a zone/area allowing groups of 2-4 people to enter, and prevents any group larger than 4?

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • NeanderthalNeanderthal Member UncommonPosts: 1,713
    Kilsin said:
    Amathe said:
    We have talked a lot about soloing versus full group content. I'm wondering how much can be done by pairs of players or half sized groups? Of course it depends on what they try to fight, level, gear, skill, and so on. But I mean generally speaking, can we expect to enjoy some content with smaller teams, even if it is just xp grinding?
    Yes, Pantheon is being designed for small to full groups :)


    I keep hearing that this game is designed for grouping (with a probable group size of six) and that soloing and raiding are not the focus of the game.  However, I'm still waiting to hear what you're going to do for single group content/progression at the end game.  Does the game continue to be about single group play at the endgame or does it transition into a multi-group raiding game?

    So far I have absolutely no reason to believe that it's not going to devolve into a God awful raiding mess at the endgame sucking all the fun out of the game.  I wouldn't even bother asking this question as I'm perfectly willing to just write it off as "not for me"  but the team keeps sending mixed messages about this. 

    Bluefish
  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKMember LegendaryPosts: 16,653
    Kilsin said:
    Amathe said:
    We have talked a lot about soloing versus full group content. I'm wondering how much can be done by pairs of players or half sized groups? Of course it depends on what they try to fight, level, gear, skill, and so on. But I mean generally speaking, can we expect to enjoy some content with smaller teams, even if it is just xp grinding?
    Yes, Pantheon is being designed for small to full groups :)


    I keep hearing that this game is designed for grouping (with a probable group size of six) and that soloing and raiding are not the focus of the game.  However, I'm still waiting to hear what you're going to do for single group content/progression at the end game.  Does the game continue to be about single group play at the endgame or does it transition into a multi-group raiding game?

    So far I have absolutely no reason to believe that it's not going to devolve into a God awful raiding mess at the endgame sucking all the fun out of the game.  I wouldn't even bother asking this question as I'm perfectly willing to just write it off as "not for me"  but the team keeps sending mixed messages about this. 



    Eq1 and Vanguard both had raids, Pantheon will too.

    I dont see how end game being only group content could sustain a community game like Pantheon.

    If group content was all there was, people would be done with Pantheon and move on within the first month or 2.


    Kiori001
  • ZindaihasZindaihas Seattle, WAMember UncommonPosts: 3,626
    DMKano said:

    Actually pure tank/pure healer combos were not good in EQ1 not VG as the kill speed is far too slow.

    The best duos are some kind of  DPS/hybrid-healer

    But warrior/cleric - in EQ1 - shit duo 
    It depended on what you were facing.  For typical mobs and/or casters, I would agree with you.  You could deal more damage and kill faster with some kind of dps/healer combo.  But if you went up against a heavy hitter, you better have a true tank or whatever you were using as a substitute would go down pretty quickly.

  • NeanderthalNeanderthal Member UncommonPosts: 1,713
    DMKano said:
    Kilsin said:
    Amathe said:
    We have talked a lot about soloing versus full group content. I'm wondering how much can be done by pairs of players or half sized groups? Of course it depends on what they try to fight, level, gear, skill, and so on. But I mean generally speaking, can we expect to enjoy some content with smaller teams, even if it is just xp grinding?
    Yes, Pantheon is being designed for small to full groups :)


    I keep hearing that this game is designed for grouping (with a probable group size of six) and that soloing and raiding are not the focus of the game.  However, I'm still waiting to hear what you're going to do for single group content/progression at the end game.  Does the game continue to be about single group play at the endgame or does it transition into a multi-group raiding game?

    So far I have absolutely no reason to believe that it's not going to devolve into a God awful raiding mess at the endgame sucking all the fun out of the game.  I wouldn't even bother asking this question as I'm perfectly willing to just write it off as "not for me"  but the team keeps sending mixed messages about this. 



    Eq1 and Vanguard both had raids, Pantheon will too.

    I dont see how end game being only group content could sustain a community game like Pantheon.

    If group content was all there was, people would be done with Pantheon and move on within the first month or 2.



    Why would they move on?  If single group content can hold people until they reach the endgame then why couldn't it continue to hold them at the endgame?  All that's required is for the devs to design the endgame with that in mind. 

    You seem to be thinking that if the endgame isn't all about multi-group raiding then there can't be anything at all but that simply isn't true.

    You made your prediction how things would play out if it was only group content so I'll make my own prediction.  If the only real means of endgame progression is through multi-group raiding and they stick to the subscription fee model then within a year and a half after release Pantheon will be unable to sustain a population above 1000 players (and that's being generous).

    The plain truth is that the vast majority of MMO players just don't want to fuck around with all that  bullshit.  You can call them casuals or entitled cry-babies or whatever other insults you want to throw around but it won't change them and it won't change the reality of the situation.  The fact that hardcore nerds are more active on gaming forums is not representative of the actual demographics of MMO players.  It just means they have more free time to piss away.

    You want a grouping game again like EQ?  Fine, so do I.  But I have no doubt that if it devolves into the type of idiotic, multi-group raiding, headache inducing, shitfest that I think it will turn into there will be very few people who will be willing to continue paying a subscription fee for it.

    Pingu2012ValkaernGyva02
  • ValkaernValkaern OxfordMember UncommonPosts: 496
    DMKano said:
    Kilsin said:
    Amathe said:
    We have talked a lot about soloing versus full group content. I'm wondering how much can be done by pairs of players or half sized groups? Of course it depends on what they try to fight, level, gear, skill, and so on. But I mean generally speaking, can we expect to enjoy some content with smaller teams, even if it is just xp grinding?
    Yes, Pantheon is being designed for small to full groups :)


    I keep hearing that this game is designed for grouping (with a probable group size of six) and that soloing and raiding are not the focus of the game.  However, I'm still waiting to hear what you're going to do for single group content/progression at the end game.  Does the game continue to be about single group play at the endgame or does it transition into a multi-group raiding game?

    So far I have absolutely no reason to believe that it's not going to devolve into a God awful raiding mess at the endgame sucking all the fun out of the game.  I wouldn't even bother asking this question as I'm perfectly willing to just write it off as "not for me"  but the team keeps sending mixed messages about this. 



    Eq1 and Vanguard both had raids, Pantheon will too.

    I dont see how end game being only group content could sustain a community game like Pantheon.

    If group content was all there was, people would be done with Pantheon and move on within the first month or 2.



    Why would they move on?  If single group content can hold people until they reach the endgame then why couldn't it continue to hold them at the endgame?  All that's required is for the devs to design the endgame with that in mind. 

    You seem to be thinking that if the endgame isn't all about multi-group raiding then there can't be anything at all but that simply isn't true.

    You made your prediction how things would play out if it was only group content so I'll make my own prediction.  If the only real means of endgame progression is through multi-group raiding and they stick to the subscription fee model then within a year and a half after release Pantheon will be unable to sustain a population above 1000 players (and that's being generous).

    The plain truth is that the vast majority of MMO players just don't want to fuck around with all that  bullshit.  You can call them casuals or entitled cry-babies or whatever other insults you want to throw around but it won't change them and it won't change the reality of the situation.  The fact that hardcore nerds are more active on gaming forums is not representative of the actual demographics of MMO players.  It just means they have more free time to piss away.

    You want a grouping game again like EQ?  Fine, so do I.  But I have no doubt that if it devolves into the type of idiotic, multi-group raiding, headache inducing, shitfest that I think it will turn into there will be very few people who will be willing to continue paying a subscription fee for it.

    At one point the ratio of 60% group/20% Solo/20% Raid was given but we can't know for sure if that still holds true as things change during development.

    I'd love to see raids as a rare special event that people can get excited about rather than a nightly grind in a less intimate setting.

    If the hardest group content gave the same rewards as a raid, but the raid item had a slightly different skin, would people still want to raid?  Is it the atmosphere of 40-72 people that's the draw? Is it the concept of hard to acquire loot that's the draw or the amount of people? 

    I raided heavily in EQ for about a decade and for years in other games and what made it tolerable was our small private chat room/server for 6-8 close friends alongside the raid chat/server. Mostly we groaned about the drama caused by content that required that many people and of course, the more people you have the more personalities collide. Never as much fun as trying to overcome a challenge with a small, tightly knit group of people, and never as satisfying for me. I actually remember some of those seemingly impossible group victories while the raid stuff is just an annoying blur of waiting and drama that was necessary at the time.

    However, if a giant cyclops roams down into a populated zone and the people in the area band together (guild mates or not) to kill it in a long epic battle, that would be an example of a 'raid' event that would actually be exciting to me. A rare, special occasion that would probably be screenshot folder worthy for much longer than the nightly raid grind would. 

    Add in how much more of a drain on resources it is to design and balance raids than other content and I'd instantly vote for those resources going elsewhere.


    NeanderthalKyleran
  • ValkaernValkaern OxfordMember UncommonPosts: 496
    Amathe said:
    We have talked a lot about soloing versus full group content. I'm wondering how much can be done by pairs of players or half sized groups? Of course it depends on what they try to fight, level, gear, skill, and so on. But I mean generally speaking, can we expect to enjoy some content with smaller teams, even if it is just xp grinding?
    We have no way of knowing to what extent that will be possible, but I'm sure people will find ways. Emergent gameplay is one of the characteristics that made EQ unique. FD pulling, kiting etc, were never intended, but people discovered ways of using the mechanics to accomplish things they otherwise wouldn't be able to. Hopefully Pantheon mechanics are in depth enough to allow for unexpected surprises.
  • ZindaihasZindaihas Seattle, WAMember UncommonPosts: 3,626
    A truly versatile game should have content for every group combo - solo, small groups, full groups and raids.  That was the case in EQ (for me anyway).  It was definitely more difficult to solo at the upper levels, but not impossible.  A simple solution for making soloing worthwhile is to allow valuable drops to fall from average mobs; just make them rare drops.  There were times when I might be working on faction or collecting crafting items, which I could do solo, and every once in a while I'd get a nice surprise drop that I could either use or sell for a lot of money.

  • jpedrote52jpedrote52 Member UncommonPosts: 53
    The 60% group, 20% solo, 20% raiding, is not an official number from the devs, it's what some forum users speculated on the content distribution.

    From what I gathered reading the devs posts and some of Brads blogs, on the Pantheon website, the game will have both raiding and grouping throughout the entire levelling process, there will be "low level raids" i.e: a raid at lvl 30, but the majority of the content will be designed around grouping, this means that some of the best rewards will indeed come from grouping, and a smaller portion of the item rewards will come from raiding, so a players that wants to have all the best items in the game will need to do both activities (raiding and grouping), but a more casual players that only play with his group of friends still has a meaningful progression path, and gameplay option when he reaches max level, because a large part of the best gear will come from various dungeons around the world.
  • ValkaernValkaern OxfordMember UncommonPosts: 496
    edited September 24
    The 60% group, 20% solo, 20% raiding, is not an official number from the devs, it's what some forum users speculated on the content distribution.

    From what I gathered reading the devs posts and some of Brads blogs, on the Pantheon website, the game will have both raiding and grouping throughout the entire levelling process, there will be "low level raids" i.e: a raid at lvl 30, but the majority of the content will be designed around grouping, this means that some of the best rewards will indeed come from grouping, and a smaller portion of the item rewards will come from raiding, so a players that wants to have all the best items in the game will need to do both activities (raiding and grouping), but a more casual players that only play with his group of friends still has a meaningful progression path, and gameplay option when he reaches max level, because a large part of the best gear will come from various dungeons around the world.
    I'll have a look for the info, I was pretty sure in one of the streams or on the forums that ratio was given, you could be correct but this is from Brads AMA awhile back which seems to give some shape to things:

    "Second, the majority of content in Pantheon will be designed around grouping, with smaller amounts designed for soloing and raiding. Pantheon is not a primarily raiding game, though we know many in our community enjoy raiding. Same with soloing -- it is not Pantheon's focus, but some people like to solo occasionally."

    Edit: Link to the AMA (Reference above is in the 2nd topic down):

    https://www.reddit.com/r/MMORPG/comments/4y7sd0/i_am_brad_aradune_mcquaid_cco_for_pantheon_rise/
    Post edited by Valkaern on
  • KilsinKilsin AustraliaMember RarePosts: 493
    Zindaihas said:

    Has it been stated yet what the size of a full group will be?  I assume it will be six characters (eight is too many imo).  It stands to reason that you should be able to progress on less than a full a group.  If you're good, the major difference between half a group and a full one should be the speed at which you can kill mobs.

    The most basic characters necessary are a tank and a healer.  With those two, you should at least be able to stand your ground against pretty tough mobs.  Throw in a crowd controller and you can then face multiple mobs.  From there it's mostly a matter of dealing damage to crank-up the killing proficiency of your group (this is discounting peripheral tasks such as tracking and picking locks, etc.).

    Not only that, but it can be downright fun testing yourself to see what you can accomplish with only two or three people.  As much as I'm looking forward to this being a group-oriented game, I would be extremely disappointed if it took a full group just to venture out of your home town.

    Most likely 6.
    MrMelGibson

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  • DullahanDullahan Member EpicPosts: 4,336

    There's still 10s of thousands of people playing Everquest, a game with heavily focused on group play. Heck, a couple years ago there were 2-3k people playing a classic EQ emulator with hundreds of thousands of registered accounts.


    Nothing will kill Pantheon faster than undermining achievement and sense of accomplishment. It was largely what made EQ and first gen mmos so addictive. It's also the lack of that quality which has lead to new mmos being short-lived.
    Gyva02Kiori001Mendel


  • KyleranKyleran Paradise City, FLMember LegendaryPosts: 26,223
    Kilsin said:
    Zindaihas said:

    Has it been stated yet what the size of a full group will be?  I assume it will be six characters (eight is too many imo).  It stands to reason that you should be able to progress on less than a full a group.  If you're good, the major difference between half a group and a full one should be the speed at which you can kill mobs.

    The most basic characters necessary are a tank and a healer.  With those two, you should at least be able to stand your ground against pretty tough mobs.  Throw in a crowd controller and you can then face multiple mobs.  From there it's mostly a matter of dealing damage to crank-up the killing proficiency of your group (this is discounting peripheral tasks such as tracking and picking locks, etc.).

    Not only that, but it can be downright fun testing yourself to see what you can accomplish with only two or three people.  As much as I'm looking forward to this being a group-oriented game, I would be extremely disappointed if it took a full group just to venture out of your home town.

    Most likely 6.
    I'm sort of surprised this isn't locked down yet.

    I consider it to be a key influence on encounter design and class balance. 
    MendelMrMelGibson

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    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™
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  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INMember RarePosts: 5,361
    Zindaihas said:
    A truly versatile game should have content for every group combo - solo, small groups, full groups and raids.  That was the case in EQ (for me anyway).  It was definitely more difficult to solo at the upper levels, but not impossible.  A simple solution for making soloing worthwhile is to allow valuable drops to fall from average mobs; just make them rare drops.  There were times when I might be working on faction or collecting crafting items, which I could do solo, and every once in a while I'd get a nice surprise drop that I could either use or sell for a lot of money.
    Often in MMOs players take the path of least resistance...It is usually easiest to solo so most players often take that path....If you do like WoW and make it too easy then most players will solo and the game will miss its mark.
  • Kiori001Kiori001 WellingtonMember UncommonPosts: 11
    Dullahan said:

    There's still 10s of thousands of people playing Everquest, a game with heavily focused on group play. Heck, a couple years ago there were 2-3k people playing a classic EQ emulator with hundreds of thousands of registered accounts.


    Nothing will kill Pantheon faster than undermining achievement and sense of accomplishment. It was largely what made EQ and first gen mmos so addictive. It's also the lack of that quality which has lead to new mmos being short-lived.
    This is so true.  I downloaded an mmo recently to try it and see what it was like( its been a year or so since I tried one ).  I lvled up till I could try a group.  So I joined the group finder,  not something I am really fond of,  but it is what it is.  

    Anyway I get ported to a zone,  group annihilates the place pronto,  with me running to keep up,  not learning anything at all,  but getting some xp.  The game is well made and very pretty but this experience just turned me off.  I lost all interest and removed it from my hard drive.

    I never played EQ1,  but EQ2 I enjoyed. Vanguard I only ever left when it became hard to get groups.

    So many fond memories.

    Betraying My Ratonga from Freeport in EQ2.  Myself and three friends getting killed by a heroic snake in Nek Forest.  Lol playing the blame game as to who agro'd the snake. We laugh so hard now at that memory. Sneaking into Qeynos sewers for the armour quest.  Sneaking into Freeport to complete whatever that quest was at the Inn in the harbour.

    Levitating into Trengal Keep from the mountains in Vanguard.  Having a rogue sneak deep into a dungeon before reviving a cleric to summon the remainder of the party from the zone in.  Another zone a monk could jump to a bridge and rope the rest of the party to him and bypass a tower.  Seeing a bard speeding out of the ant mound with a bunch of corpses,  train in tow.

    I find it hard to even contemplate playing mmo anymore,  Save me OB Pantheon.


  • ThebeastttThebeasttt Grah, ALMember RarePosts: 1,036
    imo outside zones should be for trios and dungeons should be for full groups.
  • delete5230delete5230 Member RarePosts: 4,098
    Kyleran said:
    Kilsin said:
    Zindaihas said:

    Has it been stated yet what the size of a full group will be?  I assume it will be six characters (eight is too many imo).  It stands to reason that you should be able to progress on less than a full a group.  If you're good, the major difference between half a group and a full one should be the speed at which you can kill mobs.

    The most basic characters necessary are a tank and a healer.  With those two, you should at least be able to stand your ground against pretty tough mobs.  Throw in a crowd controller and you can then face multiple mobs.  From there it's mostly a matter of dealing damage to crank-up the killing proficiency of your group (this is discounting peripheral tasks such as tracking and picking locks, etc.).

    Not only that, but it can be downright fun testing yourself to see what you can accomplish with only two or three people.  As much as I'm looking forward to this being a group-oriented game, I would be extremely disappointed if it took a full group just to venture out of your home town.

    Most likely 6.
    I'm sort of surprised this isn't locked down yet.

    I consider it to be a key influence on encounter design and class balance. 

    It probably is. 

    However it's a forever balancing act with so many classes and mobs, and with todays political correctness they best not say, just incase.

    Difficulty levels can and should be tinkered with until release.
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