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A LFG tool that actually helps build community

acidbloodacidblood melbournePosts: 266Member Uncommon

Edit: Changed some of the wording and formatting to hopefully make things clearer.

The premise

LFG tools tend to destroy community in MMOs... at least this is the popular opinion, and one I generally happen to agree with (I quit both WoW and Rift shortly after their LFG tools were implemented; the tone of the community changed).

Does it have to be this way in WildStar though? What if WildStar had a LFG tool that could actually help build community... how? Simple; by bringing like minded players together and getting them to communicate (or at least say hello).

The tool would:

  • Be as simple as a virtual notice board.
  • Allow perspective group leaders to post a notice with a custom Title "Dungeon X, story quests, need Tank + DPS", and optional Description "Doing story quests so this won't be a speed run. Have a great healer. PST for invite!".
  • Give those looking for a group the name of a group leader and nothing more, what players do from there is entirely up to them.

The tool would NOT:

  • Have any sort of "Join group" button,  "Auto join" option, or any other sort of automated functionality. This is critical, as by removing (never having) automated functionality it forces players to take meaningful action to join a group, and hopefully break the ice in the process, making further interaction with other players easier.
  • Transport players to instances (or anywhere else), as IMO this makes the world seem smaller (town, instance, town, instance..), less alive (less players roaming about) and less interesting (some of the best PvP I've experienced in an MMO was on the way instances). Assuming WildStar supports some sort of summoning getting groups to instances should not be a problem.
  • Restrict who can see or reply to notices in any way (beyond the possibility of the ignore list, see below), like I said, it is there purely to give you a name (or put your name out there). So if you are log in with an alt you can still look for groups suitable for your main and just say, "Hey I've got a level 50 main, names WildBill, give me a minute and I'll switch characters".

Cross-realm for dungeons could still be supported (if desired) by allowing individual notices to be browsed cross-realm (optional, default off) and cross-realm whisper / invite (only via the tool so as to avoid harassment), with players in the cross-realm group entering a cross-realm instance when they zone into the dungeon.

Some optional extras for the tool could be:

  • Ignored players can't see your groups, nor you theirs, so getting a bad rep = a hard time finding groups.
  • Groups with players in your Ignore list are highlighted red
  • Groups with players in your Friends list are highlighted green
  • When a Friend posts a notice you get a notification (probably via chat).
  • Criteria (entirely optional). For example min level, max level, need: X Tanks, Y Healers, Z DPS, N Total
  • Tags (entirely optional). For example Dungeon, Quests, PvP, Other
  • Filtering of notices based on Criteria and Tags

So how does this build community?

Like I said, it brings like minded (i.e. players looking to do the same thing) together, and it does it in a reasonably fast and efficient manner, at least faster and more efficiently than a spammed (and often misused) LFG channel, without taking the human factor (i.e. having to talk to other players) out of the equation. Want to do an instance, check the notice board and contact the apporiate group leader. Can't find what your looking for? Post your own notice to let other players know you're trying to start a group.

Note: Although notices could be posted by those looking to join an existing group, i.e. "LFG Dungeon X, Tank, T2 gear", this sort of use would be discouraged (mostly through education), as the tool is not, and should never be, designed for lazy people to be 'picked up' by others, but rather as a means to find information (i.e. the names of group leaders) quickly and efficiently.

Note2: This type of tool also has the advantage (over 'standard' LFG tools) that you can create a group for literally anything. Want to throw a party on the Halon Ring? No problem, simply post a notice with an appropriate title and description and tag it as "Other" with no additional criteria, done.

Thoughts? Constructive criticism? Any idea why more games don't use a LFG system like this?

Comments

  • erinyserinys middelburgPosts: 388Member Uncommon
    any mmo's have this kind of LFG tools and they all suck, nobody uses them
  • versulasversulas None of your damn business, WAPosts: 286Member Uncommon

    Meh... correct me if I'm wrong, but your main problem is with the automation of it? So instead of ping, joined group, start running towards the mobs, you want something that forces players to interact with each other, hopefully striking up a conversation. I don't know if it will be enough, but it's a nice thought.

    Tera has something like this in place if I'm not mistaken:

    "TERA also has a built-in system to help you find players. You can access this system from the action bar's Social menu or directly by pressing the key. Once you've decided you want to group up and have opened the LFG menu, you'll see a list of parties and what they're looking for. If you can't find exactly what you need, you can create your own Looking For Group listing on this menu. To do this, select the create button, enter your search criteria (area, level range, classes), and click confirm. 

    Once a party is advertised, any player on the server can apply to join. The party leader will receive a whisper with the character's name, above which will be the character's race, class, and level. You'll have the option of accepting or declining this application, based on whether you think the character will benefit your party. Once the LFG has five players, the listing will close itself out."

     

    ed: 

    Also, I disagree with the implementation of cross-realm lfg. I think that has the potentional of "ruining the community" more than anything else you listed because you'll only see these people once (usually), so there's no real benefit to striking up a conversation and befriending them.

  • ShaighShaigh Posts: 546Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by versulas

    Meh... correct me if I'm wrong, but your main problem is with the automation of it? So instead of ping, joined group, start running towards the mobs, you want something that forces players to interact with each other, hopefully striking up a conversation. I don't know if it will be enough, but it's a nice thought.

    Tera has something like this in place if I'm not mistaken:

    "TERA also has a built-in system to help you find players. You can access this system from the action bar's Social menu or directly by pressing the key. Once you've decided you want to group up and have opened the LFG menu, you'll see a list of parties and what they're looking for. If you can't find exactly what you need, you can create your own Looking For Group listing on this menu. To do this, select the create button, enter your search criteria (area, level range, classes), and click confirm. 

    Once a party is advertised, any player on the server can apply to join. The party leader will receive a whisper with the character's name, above which will be the character's race, class, and level. You'll have the option of accepting or declining this application, based on whether you think the character will benefit your party. Once the LFG has five players, the listing will close itself out."

    Tera had both, but if you used the dungeon finder you got shorter cooldown for dungeons and also were given rewards for using it, and you couldn't use dungeon finder if you had a full group.

  • IsawaIsawa Middle 0 Nowhere, ORPosts: 1,051Member

    Heh my view on the LFG tools is that a tool doesn't destroy the community, it is just far more likely to attract the people who are anti-social and don't care to build a community. This group of people is probably a hefty portion of the population in MMORPGs these days and its a fairly common occurance in the online world in general.

    I've had about 50% decent groups that speak come from GW2's lfg website. Also if the people or person who make the group are social, then the group is always far more likely to be social. I almost always start  a LFG on my own with 1 or 2 guildmates and we greet everyone joining and talk some throughout (this would be like 75% better than joining randoms on my own).

    Players that don't greet us back, end up saying nothing throughout the run, and then leave the group after a clean run without saying so much as "thx" - I add to my ignore list.

  • acidbloodacidblood melbournePosts: 266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by versulas

    Also, I disagree with the implementation of cross-realm lfg. I think that has the potentional of "ruining the community" more than anything else you listed because you'll only see these people once (usually), so there's no real benefit to striking up a conversation and befriending them.

    I mainly put that in there as it seems a big reason for LFG systems in the first place is cross-realm, and for low pop servers (or simply low pop times of day) it can be nice when you can't find a group on your own server. I do agree that you are unlikely to see those people again, but with it at least being optional (and turned off by default) and still making you talk to the group leader for an invite the "ruination" of the community should be minimal... and you never know, you may make friends on the other server and decide to transfer over (yeah I know, ruins your old server, but a dead server is a dead server).

    Also, thanks, I didn't know TERA had this, may have to check it out. But ideally I'd leave out "The party leader will receive a whisper with the character's name, above which will be the character's race, class, and level. You'll have the option of accepting or declining this application, based on whether you think the character will benefit your party", as that is still too much of a auto-invite system... the idea is that players actually have to say (type) something, not just click buttons.

  • acidbloodacidblood melbournePosts: 266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Shaigh

    Tera had both, but if you used the dungeon finder you got shorter cooldown for dungeons and also were given rewards for using it, and you couldn't use dungeon finder if you had a full group.

    Yeah, see that would kill it, players are always going to be lazy (it's human nature).

  • rounnerrounner CanberraPosts: 603Member Uncommon

    The level of fussiness in picking your groups is directly proportional to the population. Your suggestions might be good for wow but not a less pop game. Im sure ive played games with various filters, maybe Im thinking of VG, which highlights my point.

    Im all for a more sophisticated ignore list including your suggestions.

  • acidbloodacidblood melbournePosts: 266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Eluldor

    Heh my view on the LFG tools is that a tool doesn't destroy the community, it is just far more likely to attract the people who are anti-social and don't care to build a community. This group of people is probably a hefty portion of the population in MMORPGs these days and its a fairly common occurance in the online world in general.

    I've had about 50% decent groups that speak come from GW2's lfg website. Also if the people or person who make the group are social, then the group is always far more likely to be social. I almost always start  a LFG on my own with 1 or 2 guildmates and we greet everyone joining and talk some throughout (this would be like 75% better than joining randoms on my own).

    Players that don't greet us back, end up saying nothing throughout the run, and then leave the group after a clean run without saying so much as "thx" - I add to my ignore list.

    Exactly, and sadly the current crop of MMO LFG tools only premotes this anti-social behaviour. I don't think there should be need for an external website though (nothing breaks immersion like having to alt-tab), but the GW2 LFG site is a good example of what I'm talking about; simple, lets other players know you are out there without having to spam it, but still requires some interaction to actually get the group together.

  • acidbloodacidblood melbournePosts: 266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by rounner

    The level of fussiness in picking your groups is directly proportional to the population. Your suggestions might be good for wow but not a less pop game. Im sure ive played games with various filters, maybe Im thinking of VG, which highlights my point.

    Im all for a more sophisticated ignore list including your suggestions.

    The filters (Criteria and Tags) would be entirely optional (even if implemented), they are simply there so you wouldn't have to read through a whole list of Dungeon notices when all you want to see are PvP ones (or vice versa).

  • acidbloodacidblood melbournePosts: 266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by versulas

    Meh... correct me if I'm wrong, but your main problem is with the automation of it? So instead of ping, joined group, start running towards the mobs, you want something that forces players to interact with each other, hopefully striking up a conversation. I don't know if it will be enough, but it's a nice thought.

    Yes, the main problem is the automation. I mean I've seen enough people spamming in chat "LFG Dungeon X, Role, Gear Lv" at the same time to make me think 'wtf? just start a group already', but it rarely happens (they will spam for hours)... as soon as you do start inviting though, bam, you've got a group in about a minute and you're on your way. People are lazy by nature, it should not encourage. Also, yeah, it may not be much, but it's at least a step in the right direction instead of a leap in the wrong one.

  • allegriaallegria San Francisco, CAPosts: 682Member
    Originally posted by erinys
    any mmo's have this kind of LFG tools and they all suck, nobody uses them

    This is not true. DDO's LFG tool works just like this and everyone uses it... in my mind it is the way to go for LFG tools, unless of course u are looking for a lobby game, then copy RIFT or WoW

  • TokkenTokken Portland, ORPosts: 1,154Member Uncommon

    I hope there is LFG tool. Wildstar looks like a very promising game as is.

    Brad McQuaid Quote:  So, God-willing, the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen team and I will be able to make or allow that magic to happen a third time, and it too will be not just a great game, but also that catalyst again that brings people together, sometimes out of their comfort zone, learning how to work together not just tactically in a virtual world but also socially in the real world.
  • GormogonGormogon Waukegan, ILPosts: 188Member Uncommon

    WoW had a searchable LFG/LFM tool that also included a comment field (giving it some "notice board" functionality as well) as far back as The Burning Crusade, several years before they implemented cross-realm and automated dungeon matching services.  Granted, it also allowed anonymous invites and had an option to auto join when an invite request was received, but then, invites used to be tossed out in cities all the time when somebody posted LFG in chat without any further communication.  A lot of people don't know this LFG tool existed in WoW prior to the automatied Dungeon Finder because (hyperbole warning!) nobody used it

     

    ETA: Link here since I know there are people who will refuse to believe it:

    http://wow.joystiq.com/2007/02/08/using-the-lfg-tool/

     

    I do think cross-realm and automated dungeon matching have undoubtedly had a negative impact on the community aspect of that particular game, and I am in support of the OP's position for how a LFG tool should be implemented, but the evidence seems to suggest that there are a very large number of players who make use of automated dungeon matching features who wouldn't bother using LFG tools that required player interaction (or at least some form of information exchange)  I don't know why that should be the case, but it is.  A developer has to decide if keeping these antisocial players out of dungeons is to the benefit of the player community as a whole (I would argue it is, but then I'm not an antisocial player). 

  • AbdiellAbdiell san diego, CAPosts: 102Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Gormogon

      A lot of people don't know this LFG tool existed in WoW prior to the automatied Dungeon Finder because (hyperbole warning!) nobody used it

    This.

     

    The "notice board" feature existed in the largest MMO on the planet, and no one even knew it was in the game. 

     

    People are lazy, so they will do the least amount of work. If it is between opening up a new tab, selecting a dungeon, selecting a role, and posting a bit about their character or just spamming a macro....well, its easy to figure out what most people wil do. Blizz figured that out and implimented their more aggressive LFG tool.

     

    It is a good idea in theory, but no one will use it if they can just spam trade chat.

  • XiaokiXiaoki White Pigeon, MIPosts: 2,605Member Uncommon

    WoW used this system, no one used it


    TOR used this system, no one used it


    GW2 has this system now, no one uses it. In fact people would rather a third party website to find groups than whats in game right now


    Pretty much the only MMO I have ever played where this type of system worked was FF11 back in 2003.

  • TwoThreeFourTwoThreeFour Virginia, VAPosts: 2,131Member
    Originally posted by Xiaoki

    WoW used this system, no one used it


    TOR used this system, no one used it


    GW2 has this system now, no one uses it. In fact people would rather a third party website to find groups than whats in game right now


    Pretty much the only MMO I have ever played where this type of system worked was FF11 back in 2003.

     

    The reason for why it works so badly in several games is because it isn't properly designed. A key element is that the tool is easy to use and easily accessible directly from your standard interface. I.e., there should be a "LFG" button already next to your radar. 

     

    The tool should be global as well, so that you don't have to be in the same map to be able to group up efficientely.

     

    You should be able to type looong descriptions. (However you can of course have a short and long description).

  • AbdiellAbdiell san diego, CAPosts: 102Member Uncommon
    You have to give players an incentive to use a system like this. If you aretrying to do group quests, you shouldn't be limited to the zone you're in, or no one will use it. If the tool allowed you to summon group members, then that would be incentive enough for people to use it regularly.
  • ScottyakScottyak fairbanks, AKPosts: 12Member

    There is an interview on youtube, from PAX, with one of the devs. He said there would be no raid finder tool. I don't recall if he said anything about five mans.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there.

     

     


  • acidbloodacidblood melbournePosts: 266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Abdiell
    Originally posted by Gormogon

      A lot of people don't know this LFG tool existed in WoW prior to the automatied Dungeon Finder because (hyperbole warning!) nobody used it

    This.

    The "notice board" feature existed in the largest MMO on the planet, and no one even knew it was in the game. 

    People are lazy, so they will do the least amount of work. If it is between opening up a new tab, selecting a dungeon, selecting a role, and posting a bit about their character or just spamming a macro....well, its easy to figure out what most people wil do. Blizz figured that out and implimented their more aggressive LFG tool.

    It is a good idea in theory, but no one will use it if they can just spam trade chat.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the LFG tool before dungeon finder linked to meeting stones (worst idea ever)? Although I think they uncoupled it at some point, I'm pretty sure the damage was done. Also wasn't it more of an auto group thing that used to put 5 dps classes together?

    I remember there was a mod called Call to Arms way back when, and it was pretty good (and used), but being a mod it wasn't wide spread. Oh and I hate to point out the obvious, but if nobody knew about it then of course no body used it.

    I do accept that people are lazy though, and will rarely venture outside their comfort zone unless forced, but if you aren't willing to put in the effort then obviously you don't want the reward, so I don't accept the argument that this type of system can never work simply because people are lazy. I mean hell, look at the GW2 LFG site, that's getting about 5-8 posts a minute and that's out of game, and unoffical, and pretty much what I am talking about.

    As far as global chat channels go... well I'm sure most people here have played WoW... suffice it to say I am not a fan. Regional chat can be ok (barrens anyone?), but it still means you need to be in the area to advertise for a group. A big advantage of this system is that is global (and not even reliant on your logged in character unless you're the leader), so you can look for groups no matter where you are or what you're doing, the only thing it won't do for you is go 'ding' and give you 'Port to instance' button.

  • acidbloodacidblood melbournePosts: 266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Scottyak

    There is an interview on youtube, from PAX, with one of the devs. He said there would be no raid finder tool. I don't recall if he said anything about five mans.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there.

    That's correct, there will not be a raid finder, but there will be some sort of LFG tool, and it will be cross-server... exactly what form it will take is unknown, but I'm hoping it's not too automated (thus this thread).

  • acidbloodacidblood melbournePosts: 266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Gormogon

    ETA: Link here since I know there are people who will refuse to believe it:

    http://wow.joystiq.com/2007/02/08/using-the-lfg-tool/

    Thanks for the link.

    Yeah there are a few major problems with the WoW tool:

    1. "If you are looking for a group to go to an instance, make sure you click off the Auto-Join option." Most people aren't going to do this. IMO this option should not even exist, even if the tool is 'smart' it is still going to lead to bad group make ups, thus why content generally gets a massive nerf when automatic LFG/LFR tools are implemented.

    2. "go to the LFM tab and select the dungeon/quest that you are looking for more members. You will get a list of everyone that has that dungeon/quest selected. " Again, this should not even exist, only group leaders should be listed, as this is only going to lead to lazy players waiting to be 'picked-up' by others and wondering why it isn't working.

    3. "When inviting other people, send them a whisper first saying that you want to join or invite them to the dungeon/quest that they are LFG. It is rather annoying just getting an invite out of the blue and not knowing what it is for." Again, most players are not going to do this, which is why only group leaders should be listed, that way players have to send meaningful whispers and will always know by whom and why they are getting an invite.

    So yeah, sorry but the WoW LFG tool while it has a comment box is not even close to what I am talking about.

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