Dev Discussion #3 - Group Gameplay

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  • megsmegs Member, Royalty
    edited May 23
    How do you feel about grouping in MMOs - what's your ideal group experience?

    Grouping should be necessary for significant aspects of the game, it's an important part of MMORPG's, sure put in soloable dungeons, but for immersion, you need to not be beating the entire Avengers team single handed.

    But within that group?

    I like groups where everyone has a clear role.
    I like knowing what I should be doing and knowing that everyone else does too.
    The holy trinity of Tank/Healer/DPS is to me much maligned in recent years.

    Letting anyone be able to do any role, is exactly the same logic as letting that solo player beat the hulk, it's unrealistic and immersion breaking.

    However, for the builds that allow you to fill those roles, there should be scope.
    So in the same way that in Wow, a warrior could tank, but a Hunter could also spec their pet to tank, that dwarf cleric can tank by using CC.

    And yup, lots and lots of crowd control, tanks should be able to manipulate crowd aggro, healers should be able to remove mobs as a threat etc etc.
    Heck, why not even throw CC into that trinity?
    Tank/Healer/DPS/ Crowd control?

    --

    LOTRO got something very right IMO with the 'fellowship manoeuver'.
    It added an extra dimension to group fights.
    You're doing your own thing, when someone uses a skill that takes you momentarily out of combat and allows you to work together to produce a special skill/attack/defense.

    Knowing the team strategy going into a fight is all very well, but it can get tedious once you're in it. Throwing in the additional chance to think on your feet really, for myself, gave it additional depth.

    --

    Whilst every group would benefit from hanging on a set framework (trinity), there's nothing so gutting as not being able to complete things because you can't locate the right person for the group or that you are not being allowed into a group because of your poor equipment, 'But how can I get the equipment if you won't allow me in?'

    I believe that players should be able to see their own stats during the fight, but only see the stats for all at the fights/dungeons end.

    I would love to see a character reputation system in the game.
    You want to take part in a group? Build positive rep.
    Much like amazon 5* system.
    Make THAT the benchmark for choosing who takes part in groups or not.
    Not armor or level, but how they score (overall, damage, healing, dps, getting in the way, active/inactive etc)

    I'm sure that most people would rather take a punt on a newbie with three 5* reviews, than a long term player with 980 reviews but an average of 1.5 stars.
    It encourages everyone to be great, and helps reduce prejudice agains new bods.

    It's not what kit you have, it's what you do with it.
    Especially when it comes to peoples fun depending upon you.

    And if it's character based rather than account based, then it may just be that it IS just the kit etc.

    EDIT: The people who can vote, would be the people who DESERVE a say, ie other group members, not random strangers who have a guild grudge.
    And you could prevent guild rep farming by disallowing guild member votes.

    - -

    I dislike not being able to complete group content because of dropouts or rage quitting etc, but then I also dislike the practice of booting someone out from a group mid content.

    If they are working for the group then make it a team public vote, rather than just the group leaders choice.
    If they are really that unhappy, and can't persuade others to kick him out then THEY should leave, not the other way around.

    ---

    If a group, for whatever reason has broken up mid-dungeon, it would be wonderful to be able to carry on rather than lose everything.
    I don't know how you'd solve this, but brainstorming ideas:

    A mid-dungeon group finder with adjusted rewards for new participants?
    An SOS 'vote if needed' pop-up NPC to allow mid-dungeon armor/skill amendment so the smaller group can go on by changing skills/equipment to fit the smaller group?
    A rentable NPC skill that turns up once you're significantly into group content that triggers an NPC for your group? So if the majority of the group votes to trigger it and the disconnected don't cancel it in time, then they can carry on.
    Difficulty reduction? So the difficulty is based on the overall stats of the group at the time and when the group reduces, the difficulty follows suit?

    --

    Meh, brain has died now.
  • vythicvythic Member, Pioneer
    Not to risk branching to another topic but I sincerely hope a random group finder is not implemented - it lowers personal accountability in a group which is very important for many reasons.

    More focused on Group content specifically - one of my most enjoyable times in MMOs doing group content is delving through a massive dungeon with friends, getting lost, and dying - a lot. But along the way, I also felt like an integral part of the group. The group needed and depended on each other to survive. So while playing with friends is great, it is also important for each member to feel like they are providing something necessary for the party.

    For instance a rogue would feel needed to pick a lock to allow the party to take a shortcut, or a stronger character like a warrior could break a fragile wall to similar effect. Maybe a magically attuned character could use telekinesis to form a bridge over a pit of nasties. These things give tangible rewards and make that character able to perform the action a more valued party member.

    It certainly doesn't have to be tied to classes but that feeling of being a necessary component of a group is very satisfying to me. If everyone can do everything then that feeling of being a special snowflake is lost.
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  • @genna The only problem with a rating system is that with open PvP lets say your small, but better organized guild, just beat a larger and disorganized guild. That larger guild then gets all their accounts together and down votes your character and drops your rating.

    Or maybe you got the boss in an open dungeon down before another group joined the fight, then they also down vote.

    It could very easily be abused.

    So now IS has to develop a watchdog system to stop down votes because you or your guild beat someone in PvP and they are trying to mess with your PvE skill and have extra customer support to read and review cases.

    So now their customer support gets flooded by people being trolls and getting downv voted because of trolling and they go whine to customer service.

    It just seems that kind of system could break down really fast or require a lot of extra staff and coding to deal with issues of petty players and guilds.
  • dygzdygz Member, Braver of Worlds
    I work with groups - not for groups.
  • pipdashpipdash Member, Founder
    Making group content viable from a progression stand point. I want to feel like I am able to level with a group of 3-5 reliably where we all get something out of it. Maybe this means being able to complete tougher quests, or continue through a 'solo' route while earning as much experience / rewards as leveling solo. Making both options viable would make me happy as a player.
  • sivannasivanna Member, Pioneer
    I would like to see some type of a mentoring or apprentice system for leveling and professions. Maybe crafting together gives better results, or gathering While mentoring gives increased chance at rare materials. (If materials have varying grades.) This would encourage life skillers to form groups.

    For leveling usually the higher level character is scaled down to be within range of the partner. The mentor could possibly earn bonus exp for their home node or some other rep reward. The mentee could get a small boost to exp or some other stats. But to keep it from being exploited there would need to be requirements or limitations.
  • sarevoksarevok Member
    Dev Discussion #3 - Group Gameplay
    How do you feel about grouping in MMOs - what's your ideal group experience?

    I enjoy grouping with friends, guild members and the occasional randoms. I think what contributes to a good group experience is the difficult content that group is trying to do, the tools and safeties for managing a group and its loot, and the ease of access to find others interested in doing group related content. Whether that's going to be dungeons, node related tasks, zone events and even PvP.

    If you want to avoid breaking the immersion then have a LFG mechanic built into a nearby inn or tavern where players can congregate and socialize before heading out.
  • jentarajentara Member, Braver of Worlds
    Dev Discussion #3 - Group Gameplay
    How do you feel about grouping in MMOs - what's your ideal group experience?

    A lot of what has been said rings true for what I think is ideal. One thing stands out the most to me though, and that is a Reason to group! Too many MMO's today have "groups" but no reason to use them. Most of the game can be done solo. Which I don't mind really, I like solo play, but if a creator is going to add group content, then make it Group Content.

    You need multiple classes - as an example - a Healer that Heals. A Tank to hold the line. A DPS to do the damage. A support class to fire from afar or do buffs, etc.
    And/Or
    You need multiple people - there are puzzles that require two or more people to do something to continue on. Or you need someone to be a distraction. Or you need a thief to pick a lock and a mage to, idk...light some magical flame. (just spit balling here)

    Point is, make there be a reason to group...not just to group to make it easier. My ideal group experiences have always been when there is a reason to need a group...simply put.
  • arzosaharzosah Member, Braver of Worlds
    I would love to see dungeons require at least 5/8 of the archetypes to complete for 8mans and all archetypes for 40 mans, dungeons should be designed with archetype specific mechanics in mind. We already know that each archetype is going to have some utility that is specific to it, I would like to see each dungeon have some mechanic that requires the use of these abilities to advance, for the larger dungeons I don't think it's unrealistic for all archetypes to be expected to be present, but for the smaller dungeons these mechanics should probably be completeable by multiple archetypes.
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  • damoklesdamokles Member
    arzosah wrote: »
    I would love to see dungeons require at least 5/8 of the archetypes to complete for 8mans and all archetypes for 40 mans, dungeons should be designed with archetype specific mechanics in mind. We already know that each archetype is going to have some utility that is specific to it, I would like to see each dungeon have some mechanic that requires the use of these abilities to advance, for the larger dungeons I don't think it's unrealistic for all archetypes to be expected to be present, but for the smaller dungeons these mechanics should probably be completeable by multiple archetypes.

    Well we do know that the priest at least is necessary to enter specific dungeons (or you can just power through the miasma). Mages are important to remove magical obstacles too.

    IS said that they want each group, in a best case scenario, to consist of every class. 8 people, 8 classes ;D
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  • arzosaharzosah Member, Braver of Worlds
    @damokles My only concern with forcing all 8 classes in an 8man dungeon is it would increase the time to form group significantly
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  • damoklesdamokles Member
    @arzosah
    True... But we are not forced to have all 8 classes in a group^^ thats why i said that it was a best case scenario! ;D

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  • nibblecookienibblecookie Member
    edited May 22
    Just make groups needed please, if I want to play solo then I wouldn't be playing an MMO.
    Things I would like to see:

    - Lots of synergy (not just holy trinity)
    - Ways to take down mid-tier content without a dedicated healer
    - group skills where if you have multiple of the same class in a squad they can do joint attacks (like joint summon) to make up for the lack of class diversity in a squad
    - But mainly just make it fun!!



    Edit just to add something

    Im sure this is an unpopular opinion but I dislike party finders, actually getting to know people or looking for a tank ect encourages more player interaction and builds up a stronger comunity

    TL;DR don't have a party finder?
  • rhuidanrhuidan Member, Braver of Worlds
    Just make groups needed please, if I want to play solo then I wouldn't be playing an MMO.
    Things I would like to see:

    - Lots of synergy (not just holy trinity)
    - Ways to take down mid-tier content without a dedicated healer
    - group skills where if you have multiple of the same class in a squad they can do joint attacks (like joint summon) to make up for the lack of class diversity in a squad
    - But mainly just make it fun!!



    Edit just to add something

    Im sure this is an unpopular opinion but I dislike party finders, actually getting to know people or looking for a tank ect encourages more player interaction and builds up a stronger comunity

    TL;DR don't have a party finder?

    I'm pretty undecided still on party/group/raid finders.
    If they have a healthy amount of solo content or even the ability to do group content in a solo form, I would be pretty ok with no automated groups.
  • auraticusauraticus Member
    I don't want to be in a party simply to "fill" a role. I hope parties are characteristic to who the party members are, with surprising twists in compatibility that emphasize creativity and exploration of the game mechanics. Or err.. something like that..
  • damoklesdamokles Member
    auraticus wrote: »
    I don't want to be in a party simply to "fill" a role. I hope parties are characteristic to who the party members are, with surprising twists in compatibility that emphasize creativity and exploration of the game mechanics. Or err.. something like that..

    That does sadly not make sense in a mmorpg setting. Every group needs to "fill" specific roles, from the tank to the healer. Of course it is always better to have a healer or tank who actually wants to heal or tank :D
    But a player should always be prepared to fit the role required by the group.
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  • megsmegs Member, Royalty
    edited May 23
    @genna The only problem with a rating system is that with open PvP lets say your small, but better organized guild, just beat a larger and disorganized guild. That larger guild then gets all their accounts together and down votes your character and drops your rating.

    Or maybe you got the boss in an open dungeon down before another group joined the fight, then they also down vote.

    It could very easily be abused.

    Or..... only let those who are part of your group vote on you.
    Why should someone who is not part of your group be at all relevant to rating how you performed in that situation?
    And prevent guild rep farming by disallowing the votes of those in your guild.

    Sorry, I never intended for it to go any wider than this.
  • jodypsejodypse Member
    damokles wrote: »
    That does sadly not make sense in a mmorpg setting. Every group needs to "fill" specific roles, from the tank to the healer. Of course it is always better to have a healer or tank who actually wants to heal or tank :D
    But a player should always be prepared to fit the role required by the group.
    it makes perfect sense to me as long as the group is diverse enough. A perfect group might have one each of the 8 archetypes and each archetype have it's own niche to fill but that's not what he's talking about.
    Being able to find and fill a group without finding one of each role, filling 4-6 roles and then being able to fill the remaining up by compatibility or synergy rather than with filling a role; either by how two of the same base Archetype working together can do some extra stuff or by how well the persons personality and way of playing fits with others in the group.
    if you have 8 different things absolutely required to be done in a dungeon and each thing only possible to be done by a different archetype then every slot would have to be filled by role and not compatibility or synergy.
    If some, or most, or even all, of the required things to do can be done by more than one archetype then the group can be filled by other means than just "perfect group set up" of 8 different archetypes.

    This should possibly be able to be balanced slightly while the game is live too, with patches and updates, as tasks and required stuff in a dungeon needed by a specific archetype that it ends up showing only 4% or less of the players play then all groups being formed to do that dungeon will be waiting on the availability of said archetype rather than being out and enjoying the game,and those with that archetype would need to do said dungeon twice, or more, times than anyone else so everyone gets a chance to do it.
  • genna wrote: »
    @genna The only problem with a rating system is that with open PvP lets say your small, but better organized guild, just beat a larger and disorganized guild. That larger guild then gets all their accounts together and down votes your character and drops your rating.

    Or maybe you got the boss in an open dungeon down before another group joined the fight, then they also down vote.

    It could very easily be abused.

    Or..... only let those who are part of your group vote on you.
    Why should someone who is not part of your group be at all relevant to rating how you performed in that situation?
    And prevent guild rep farming by disallowing the votes of those in your guild.

    Sorry, I never intended for it to go any wider than this.

    Okay, so some pissy member of your group rage quits when you can't complete something, even if they are the reason why, and down votes everyone else in their group. Or a duo decide to troll every group they are in and down vote the others?

    Guilds talk, you could also have a guild say "If you group with any people from X guild down vote them because we don't like them for "reasons"."


    It can still be abused.
  • megsmegs Member, Royalty
    It can still be abused.

    Fine just an idea anyway. :)

  • damoklesdamokles Member
    It can still be abused.

    Everything can be abused. People in WoW abuse a Toy(s) that makes you larger to glitch through ceilings.
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  • glakunsglakuns Member, Braver of Worlds
    An ideal group is one that formed *intentionally* and with the intent of interacting in *more than the immediate term* whether a guild group, social organization group, or even a group that forms randomly out in the world. These types of groups become teams which is where so much of the fun of MMOs is brought to bear. The idea of forming groups via a finder might form a convenient group that can complete a piece of content, but this group has no incentive to become a team in the same meaningful or longer-term way that keeps players invested in the game.

    So do you want named groups inside/outside of guilds that have their own persistence, stats, and leaderboards with other named groups? Sort of like no-frills mini guilds?
  • akitsugiakitsugi Member, Explorer
    Grouping should be encouraged if it is easy for people to find each other. Usually I would love to be able to everything with a friend without being penalized for it. Even if it's just as simple as grabbing materials. Unfortunately things like gathering and such are usually limited and thus in a group you have to share materials, but it would be nice if there was a way to do most things as a group.

    Ideally group play is what people should strive for. Solo should be a possibility but people should strive towards some kind of group.

    I think the main issue that comes with grouping is finding a group; especially of friends. Back in some older MMOs I really loved you had a friend list and you could talk to everyone in your friend list at once. A "friend chat" per say. Sure some of the people you weren't talking to would not understand who or what you were talking about but it was easy to ask everyone if they wanted to group up for something. These days that is done with a party finder but strangers are usually the least people I want to go in a group with if it's important.

    Finding a group has always been a big hurdle for people less social. Finding the right guild, needing to do content at odd times so have to look for a party, or just overall finding something in common other than just need to do the same thing.

    Another issue is usually being tied to different classes, can't be sure everyone will have a high level healer or high level tank. In FFXIV you could just switch jobs, and then probably rotate to the classes you don't really want to play. I don't think that system is needed but jobs is always something that stops group play.

    Raiding can somewhat be stressful but my Idea of group play in raids should be that if you fail you didn't waste 30 mins or so. You can go back and continue or go back after 5-15 mins and try again. Even if the content requires multiple wins.

    In the world it's not easy to find a group that wants to help if they don't get some type of benefit. But even for friends it would be nice to know they don't get gutted for grouping.

    I know this post is only loosely related to topic but wanted to share.
  • LieutenantToastLieutenantToast Administrator, Moderator, Staff
    Thanks again all for taking the time to join in our Dev Discussion <3 will be wrapping up a summary for the team, but feel free to keep posting your thoughts!
  • I think it would be nice if AoC maintained the open world and had less of stages aka instanced content
  • ferrymanferryman Member
    edited May 27
    I have most enjoyed small group content done with guildies, and with small group I mean about 5 to 10 peoole. I have two different examples from two different games. I am talking about Albion Online and WoW.

    In Albion Online I loved to group up with people and go do some random open world activities. Sometimes it was running dungeons, sometimes hunting PvP action and sometimes mix of both.

    In WoW it was nice to relax at weekends and do some group content which was counterweight for raiding. Sometimes it was related for PvP, running rated or basic battlegrounds depending how much we have people. We also did a lot of achievement runs, and collected those achievements we had missed before in dungeons and raids.

    So the most fun I have had with group content, which is not so serious or semi-serious (like RBG) at max. :-)
    Do you need a ride to the Underworld?
  • claigerclaiger Member
    Honestly I most prefer a solo experience so that I can set my own pace and goals whenever I want, whether that's to pop on for half an hour or spend an entire day just plugging away. That's why I'm such a big fan of things like reputation grinds and complex crafting systems and economies.

    In the same note, I do enjoy grouping and I will say I've found the system of FF14 to be the best I've personally experienced. Having a matchmaking system with small groups to run whatever I need and rewarding folks at all levels for participating has seemed the best. The only place this struggles is super-end game content that's very challenging, which I tend to avoid in general. However, I think creating different ... I don't know... "ranks?" or badges of sorts to help people know what you're experienced in or participate most in would be helpful. For example, an account can have a badge showing that you've spent x amount of time in world groups just partied up and farming, another badge for general small group dungeons, another for raids, another for pvp. That would help me pair up with folks of like mind.

    I'd also say a big thing is being able to group with friends and help them out by scaling yourself to them (downward). For example, if I'm level 43, and my buddy is 27, I want to be able to scale down to a level where I can still help him and make it fun. For example, maybe two levels above? Or the option to scale down to 27? This may be less rewarding for the high level player from an xp perspective but a positive for the actual PLAY experience.

    Most important of all for me as an MMO player is to be able to have a really robust system in place that satisfies both those who want to wander and play alone while enjoying the social aspect of an MMO, but also those who actually want to play cooperatively/competitively.

    Hope this helps.
  • teylouneteyloune Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty
    Old MMORPGs were good, because they were hard and encouraged community building - what do i mean by that?
    If you walked into a hand full of mobs they would absolutely destroy you.
    So you had to be social and play together with others in order to make good progress and if someone helped you to get your quest done you stayed around to help them finish theirs because you knew that they would have a bad time trying to finish their quest by themselves.. and then they asked "hey, wanna do the next quest together as well?" and you said yes, because it would be inefficient trying to play by yourself so you kept playing together and this is how you build a community and make friends.

    These days in MMOs you can just pull more and more mobs and AoE them down without having to worry about anything because the game wants you to feel like a true god-hero who is saving the world pretty much by himself.
  • grisugrisu Member
    @teyloune I think that's what at least some of us miss the most. New people that never experienced the likes of early wow, early Tera, Aion and so on (not to mention all the ones that came before). They see the "slow" progress and think it's just padded out and sitting down after every fight to regenerate health and mana is tedious.
    The thing tho is, that hardship was what made it compelling and a well rounded out experience. You fought for something and you won agaisnt an actual enemy from as early on as level 1.
    You saw someone run by you? You understood he goes through some hard stuff right now too and you throw him that 1 hour buff you have to ever so slightly help him out. People actually stopped in their tracks THANKING YOU and giving you a buff in return if they have one.
    Little encounters like this feel completely void nowadays. It's all just a quick grind, highly automated and depersonalized.
    Remember when gg was a compliment and basic etiquette to say in games wether you won or lost? Sports have been around far longer and they all have their etiquette to encourage each other after the game even if they don't know each other.
    Nowadays it feels like wherever you go gg is taken as an insult. Imagine how devoid of a "community" you have to be for that to happen.
    I can be a life fulfilling dream. Grisu
    I can be a life devouring nightmare. Zekece#1819
  • pangupangu Member
    edited May 30
    What has been posted about necessity is definitely important. Although there should still be room for solo play, group play should have a clear advantage especially in specific content like dungeons. What I mean by this is everyone should feel that they have a role and use in the group. Another thing someone mentioned is ping/markers which I wholeheartedly agree. A lot of things cant be conveyed through text/voice alone so having a ping system where you can mark a location with cursor would be nice (ingame and on map). Also I think a system of penalty and reward, carrot and stick, would be nice in case you fail as a group doing something. For example doing a dungeon as a group or quest and failing can lead to some penalties, of course nothing to extreme that will take the fun out of the game and ruin the mood when group playing. Might help increase tension and excitement when playing in groups

    Another BIG thing. Maintaining group content. Theres no point in creating a decent group system when the content, such as dungeons, for the group itself is dead. In fact this isnt solely group related. A lot of games I noticed throw in updates and new content and never touch it again which eventually leads to that content being dead. It'd be nice to keep in eye on all content and when certain ones are low in activity then creating an event or increasing rewards etc
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