Reverse WoW-thinking.

Working on Book 3 in LoTRO last night reminded me why MMOs are as great as they are. When you get a group of people together, and everything goes well, the experience is far greater than anything a single player game could offer. The big problem of course is when you get people together, and things don’t go well, it’s often far worse than any single player experience. At best you waste a lot of time, at worst you get reminded what High School was like.

A bad grouping experience can make a player jaded, and turn them into a solo player, even in an online world. WoW provided the perfect game for those sick of pick up groups, as you could now solo all the way until the level cap. While a nice feature, the side effect is that now 4 million or so MMO players in the USA and EU view PuGs as something to avoid. WoW has taught them not to group until the level cap, where it then forces you into non-committal groups (BG) or forced grouping (raiding).

One of the things I’m most excited about with Warhammer is the ‘open group’ system, along with Public Quests. It certainly looks like Mythic is trying to get people to play together again in an online world, to work together with strangers and not fear them like the plague. WoW had a culture of bad groups, so even those that might not usual bail on a group did so because that was the culture. Hopefully WAR will foster the opposite, and the mindset of the majority will be to cooperate. Undoing the WoW-mentality will be a tough hurdle, but hopefully Mythic has the tools and design to do just that.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Lord of the Rings Online, MMO design, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Reverse WoW-thinking.

  1. Talyn says:

    My personal theory of why WoW PUG’s are so poor is one of simple mathematics. If a percentage of people are jerks, the more people there are there is accordingly a higher population of jerks, increasing your odds of running into them.

    10 million people of various age, ability, etc. is it really any wonder it’s so frustrating?

    The ability to solo is, in my opinion, only a small slice of the pie of why PUG’s fail more often than not.

  2. Pingback: Thoughts on Grouping « MMOre Insight

  3. br3ntbr0 says:

    I’ve experienced the open grouping system in War beta, and I can attest that it is a truly wonderful mechanic that really makes things easy.

  4. Graktar says:

    I hope WAR is able to do it. There was nothing more frustrating in WoW (well, not much more) than having a solid group of 4 friends waste an hour trying to find a 5th person to run an instance during prime time, at the level cap. Completely stupid.

  5. Talyn says:

    I like the concept of WAR’s Public Quests. I say “concept” because I don’t follow WAR, so I’m only going off of what I imagine when I think of what they’ll mean. I’ve read the amount of time spent in PQ is minimal compared to other activities, however?

    “Open Grouping” (for lack of a better term) works great in Wizard101, for example. If I see a group fighting, I can simply walk up to the combat area and *poof* I’m in! No asking if I can join, and more importantly, no one is penalized for being grouped.

    One way to “fix” grouping is to get rid of the Trinity system. Always looking for tanks and healers? Hmm, wonder why that is? Oh yeah, because most people would rather go out and kick ass (ie. dps) rather than gimping themselves into a corner where they only excel at one thing. Eliminate the Trinity and you’ll have “looking for two players” rather than “looking for these two specific classes, no one else need apply.” However the trade-off for that is running a serious risk of making the encounters seem trivial if everyone is just dps-ing the crap out of everything and no one feels like they have a unique role in the group.

    Screw class balance, I’d rather see devs concentrate on fixing group balance…

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