Are coop MMOs are thing of the past?

MeisterMeister Registered User regular
I've been looking a long time for an MMO that has coop group content from level 1, but I haven't been able to find one.

It seems every MMO these days follows this formula:
Solo quest grinding from level 1 to max, with intermittent dungeons that only reward you for doing them once.
Then, at max level the game finally becomes about challenging coop group content.

Games in this category include: WoW, Rift, Wildstar, TERA, LotRO, GW2 (even though it promised otherwise), basically every MMO I've played in the past 7 years.

I think the issue is that if you cater to solo players by making solo questing the most efficient method of leveling up, then MMO players, being optimizers, will only use that method of leveling up. The only way to have a true coop MMO is to make group play more efficient than solo play, like FFXI did (although it had its own host of problems).

Is there really no MMO currently on the market that has cooperative group content as it's primary form of play?

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    Meister wrote: »
    I've been looking a long time for an MMO that has coop group content from level 1, but I haven't been able to find one.

    It seems every MMO these days follows this formula:
    Solo quest grinding from level 1 to max, with intermittent dungeons that only reward you for doing them once.
    Then, at max level the game finally becomes about challenging coop group content.

    Games in this category include: WoW, Rift, Wildstar, TERA, LotRO, GW2 (even though it promised otherwise), basically every MMO I've played in the past 7 years.

    I think the issue is that if you cater to solo players by making solo questing the most efficient method of leveling up, then MMO players, being optimizers, will only use that method of leveling up. The only way to have a true coop MMO is to make group play more efficient than solo play, like FFXI did (although it had its own host of problems).

    Is there really no MMO currently on the market that has cooperative group content as it's primary form of play?

    FFXIV:ARR forces players to do group dungeons every 3-4 levels as your progress through the story, but it doesn't take it as far as they did in FFXI where you basically had to group in order to progress in leveling at all. (Although from what I understand FFXI has relaxed on that front and you can solo pretty well)

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  • MeisterMeister Registered User regular
    Yeah, I played FFXIV:ARR, and I'd say it follows the exact same formula, except the intermittent dungeons are mandatory for story rather than optional. Up until max level, I'd say 80% of my time in FFXIV was spent solo.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    Meister wrote: »
    Yeah, I played FFXIV:ARR, and I'd say it follows the exact same formula, except the intermittent dungeons are mandatory for story rather than optional. Up until max level, I'd say 80% of my time in FFXIV was spent solo.

    Yup, which is mostly what you will always see. The reason being that there is a very large playerbase that prefers to be able to play solo, which is a playerbase that the developers want to tap into. So they design games where you can solo and progress, or you can group with other like minded players and progress.

    Sometimes they will even incentive the group play by giving you more exp in a party (this is what more recent MMOs seem to do). What this does is allow both player types to play the game how they like. However the side effect is that now it's up to the player to seek out and find these like minded players since they are no longer forced to create a group by necessity.

    The onus is on you to create the type of play you want to experience, and to surround yourself with people who resonate with that style.

    I don't foresee future MMOs turning away the solo crowd in favor of just the party based crowd. (My guess is that there are more solo players than group players, but that just my feeling with no data to back that up)

    The downside of party play, is that you need a party to do it. this means for Joe Shmoe who just got off work, he needs to spend time in the game finding a party before he can even do anything. If he only has a couple hours to play this really eats into his play time.

    However with a solo based game he can jump right in and play for a couple hours, make some progress and then leave without worrying about breaking down a party, or making one in the first place.

    Which is why MMOs have kind of moved away from the party-based model IMO.

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  • MeisterMeister Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    The problem with creating the type of play you want to experience is that solo content doesn't become group content just because you're doing it in a party.

    A good example of this is Rift's instant adventure. It boils down to group kill quests, where you have to kill X whatevers with other people. It doesn't require any cooperation; you're just doing exactly what you would be doing solo, but with other characters next to you.

    Many of the factors that made queue times and group play time-consuming have been circumvented in modern MMOs.

    Firstly, most old MMOs create holy trinity-based group content. This always ends up with a surfeit of a DPS and a lack of tanks and healers. Modern MMOs either use non-trinity cooperation (e.g. GW2) or classes that can fulfill multiple roles (Rift, Wildstar).

    Secondly, old MMOs didn't have very good group-finding tools, like cross-server dungeon finders.

    Finally, old MMOs created simplistic, level-gated group content (dungeons) that were meant to be done once, then never again. If group content is repeatable, then it increases your player pool for group content.

    With these modernizations, it seems reasonable to imagine that there could be group content with nigh-instant queue times.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    I don't really agree with the near instant queue times because what ends up happening is you either have a game with fairly undefined roles (ala GW2) or you have people that are being forced into roles they don't want to play just because they can play them. Neither would be my ideal scenario.

    Otherwise you will have as you mentioned, the surplus of DPS compared to Tank/healer and long queue times for DPs compared to short ones for Tanks/healers.

    In either case though, you still run into the problem where it does take a non-insignificant amount of time to put a party together which makes it less than ideal for the more casual player who doesn't have a much time to play.

    I agree there have been a lot of advances, but I don't know if those will translate into that style of play, when you have an entire playerbase that doesn't necessarily desire that. It's generally bad business to cut out entire demographics.

    That being said there is an MMO or two on the horizon that may shake things up a bit. Most notably would be Everquest Next, the developers of which have been making some interesting promises regarding how the game will be structured. I don't know if I see it being more group-centric, but there is the potential there for it to gravitate towards a structure of that sort if they really make it as player focused as they are saying. I would say it's the "MMO to watch" if you are looking forward to advances in the genre.

    But Wildstar, FFXIV, Elderscrolls online, etc are all going to be more Solo friendly to cater to the largest variety of players it can.

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  • MeisterMeister Registered User regular
    Well last time I played GW2, it didn't have an in-game dungeon finder, but even using 3rd party websites, the queue time was minimal, so if it had an integrated cross-server tool I imagine the queue time would be non-existent.

    A big reason for long queue times in the past were that games had poor infrastructure, arbitrarily dividing their player base into servers. With cross-server group finding, your pool of players is drastically increased. So as long as you have a system where many compositions are viable or each player can fulfill multiple roles, then queue times will be instant.

    I do agree that the group content in GW2 is poor, and the dungeon experience almost feels like you're solo because there's not much cooperation required.

    I also agree that if you have a holy trinity system where classes can fulfill multiple roles, then often you'll be forced to play tank and healer even if you would prefer not too.

    I prefer playing tank/healer to solo quest grinding, though.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    Meister wrote: »
    Well last time I played GW2, it didn't have an in-game dungeon finder, but even using 3rd party websites, the queue time was minimal, so if it had an integrated cross-server tool I imagine the queue time would be non-existent.

    A big reason for long queue times in the past were that games had poor infrastructure, arbitrarily dividing their player base into servers. With cross-server group finding, your pool of players is drastically increased. So as long as you have a system where many compositions are viable or each player can fulfill multiple roles, then queue times will be instant.

    I do agree that the group content in GW2 is poor, and the dungeon experience almost feels like you're solo because there's not much cooperation required.

    I also agree that if you have a holy trinity system where classes can fulfill multiple roles, then often you'll be forced to play tank and healer even if you would prefer not too.

    I prefer playing tank/healer to solo quest grinding, though.

    While you may prefer playing a tank/healer, it pretty much screws over DPS because they have to wait anywhere from 5-20 minutes before they can play. And if you can't progress or do something during that time (solo content) then you will just not play the game in favor of something where you don't have to wait.

    FFXIV actually has done a decent job of alleviating this, as they have added reasons to go back into the dungeons and do them outside of the story. It's not perfect though and DPS still have longer queue times but it has drastically improved the overall experience and made it do the dungeons always have groups running through them.

    From what you are describing though you would need to design your game around more than just dungeons. FFXI did this well by essentially making it so the progressing in the game at all required a group, but it had it's host of problems in that because you HAD to group to progress, you wanted to make sure that your group was set up in such a fashion to have the highest chance at succeeding. Because of this you only made groups with optimal party compositions, which means if you wanted to play something outside that party composition, you were waiting HOURS to find a group that was willing to chance it with you.

    Now a lot of that is game balance, and if you design your game well you can alleviate this, but the community will almost always fall into that idea of "This is the best party comp, and anything outside this is less efficient" which ends up with a similar problem. This is a problem inherit in that style of play as well.

    The thing about "solo quest grinding" in MMOs these days though is that you don't have to do it. It's not required. It is more efficient typically, but if it's not a way you like to play, you are fully able to find others who prefer to play in a group and run it with them.

    For example SWTOR I didn't like playing solo much at all. So I didn't. I hooked up with a buddy and we basically Duo'd from the beginning to the end. It was a much more fun experience for both of us, and while we could have played solo and just grouped for dungeons as such we decided not to and played in a manner that we desired.

    That's the key thing, the MMO gives you the option to play how you like. You just need to do the legwork and find others to play the game with you. That's the only part that has changed, they took away the game limitations that forced you to party, now it's up to you to recreate that experience, but it's still there should you seek it, in pretty much every MMO that has been made. You just need to put the effort out.

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  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    Most people want to progress on their own time and at their own pace. In short, most people prefer to solo when not doing dungeons.

    Developers have responded in kind. It's basically as simple as that.

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  • ringswraithringswraith Registered User regular
    I echo Delphi's sentiments here. FFXI was my first ever MMO, and while I enjoyed the time I played there, I also grew to loathe the game. I wanted to play a Summoner, and back then we were invited to party to be subpar White Mages with bigger MP pools. I got sick of it, tried Bard, and leveled well beyond my SMN's levels, but Bards can't do crap alone. And I wasn't leveling the job I really wanted to play as.

    Couple that with long wait times LFG, rewards that take forever to get, and I'd had it.

    I will say that skillchains/magic bursts are one thing from FFXI that I wish we'd see more in other games.

  • MeisterMeister Registered User regular
    As a former Dragoon, I feel your pain about queue times in FFXI.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    Meister wrote: »
    As a former Dragoon, I feel your pain about queue times in FFXI.

    You and me both, I was a Taru Dragoon. And with the race stats nobody wanted me in a party :)

    Luckily I had a bunch of friends that played so I still got to play but there were those days where I would wait for hours trying to find a party. Still FFXI has many fond memories for me.

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  • MandresMandres Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    I agree with the OP. I think that group-based leveling/questing/advancement creates a healthier and more vibrant game because you get to the know the other players and socialize. That's a big part of old-school multiplayer gaming that's totally missing in the new MMOs. Every MMO I've played recently has felt exactly like a single player quest grind with other people running around. But I don't know those people, and there's no reason I should make an effort to.

    I think that group questing/killing should be, by far, the most efficient way to gain XP in any MMO. Up to 5x more XP per hour compared to solo work. That way people have incentive to group up, get to know each other, and start building community in the game. And also so that group play becomes the default play style for most players. Solo questing/grinding should be an option for when you can't find a group, or when you don't have the time to invest in a full session.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    Which again, runs into the problem where there will be the "most efficient" group composition and if you aren't catering to the composition you don't get groups. It actually ends up having a detrimental effect on the community of the game, not a positive one.

    When you tie basic leveling to group play you will always run into this problem, this is a large part of why they don't do things this way anymore. Time is a premium in games and players will not tolerate sub optimal groups if they don't have to. Obviously this isn't going to apply to every player as there will be plenty who will, but if you have to go and seek those group out anyways, you may as well just have solo content and have players seek out groups instead of forcing it.

    Not to mention the fact that you still are not addressing the fact that you need to make the group in the first place, finding appropriate members etc, just to progress in the game. That takes time as mentioned before time is at a premium in games, players are not going to want to spend time putting a group together just to get EXP, especially when it's the most efficient way to level. They will resent the fact that they can only level at a fifth of the speed as a group and will not want to play at all unless they can get a group.

    It does not bode well for the life of the game.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    I should also clarify that I personally enjoy group play over solo, but the question that was posed was not if it was feasible that a coop game can work, but whether such a game existed right now, and if it was likely to exist in the future.

    With the type of player you see playing MMOs these days I think it is very unlikely that such a game would be developed now or in the near future. It's a very large demographic and if you are making an MMO you aren't going to want to spend millions to develop for what is essentially a very niche crowd compared to the rest of the market.

    e. Also because I prefer group play I tend to go into a new MMO with a group of friends I know and play with them, which lets me bring the group play element into the MMO and recapture that style of play despite the games being designed for ease of solo play.

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  • MeisterMeister Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    To be fair, there is a currently existing genre of coop centric mmos. The instance-based dungeon crawler, e.g. PSO 2, Path of Exile, Vindictus, etc. I was just hoping there were games out there with a deeper level of interaction in coop group content, since in those games you can often also solo the content because it's not designed with groups in mind.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    I would argue every one of those you listed CAN be coop, but you can run them just as easily solo as well. Therefore they end up really being no different than current MMOs in that regard where you CAN group, but there is nothing forcing you to or even really creating an incentive to in most cases.

    If you want to use those as examples you would need to include every current MMO as well as they offer basically an identical setup in terms of solo vs coop play compared to those.

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  • MeisterMeister Registered User regular
    True, I guess they only differ in that they tend to have more rewards for running in a group and they make it easier to play through the entire game in pick-up parties.

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  • drunkenpandarendrunkenpandaren Slapping all the goblin ham In the top laneRegistered User regular
    People who are going to group up with each other are going to group up with each other. Incentivizing group play in this day and age will only make a player base go rabid at the thought that they have to go and do something with another player, or the player base will go with it but later complain that it's the 'only' viable method to get to their goal.

    Unless you're awesome and one of those instance based dungeon crawlers that makes players like voltron but with loot. The more people you have the better loot you get.

    In a regular MMO (like WoW or RIFT) my friends and I usually get into content severely under level though. In RIFT/WoW it's anywhere from 2-4 levels below as compared to soloing. Though I don't know if WoW ever got rid of their exp penalty for groups, which is the worse thing and I don't even know why anyone thought that was a good idea to have.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    Meister wrote: »
    True, I guess they only differ in that they tend to have more rewards for running in a group and they make it easier to play through the entire game in pick-up parties.

    Hmm aside from maybe better loot I don't think they even offer more rewards for grouping to be honest. I've played each and every one of those games. The issue is that group composition doesn't matter much (at least through the majority of the game) so you can just join with whoever. But because group composition doesn't matter the content doesn't differ between playing it solo or in a group, it just boils down to whether you prefer playing with people or without. People just join up in a group, do whatever they set out to do, and then say their goodbyes.

    It doesn't really foster any sort of community any more than MMOs do because really there is little to no difference between the two (grouping wise that is). In both cases if you want to create/join a good community you have to put the effort in to do so, the game will not do it for you.

    It sounds like what you guys want is for the game to enforce a group of some sort to force people to communicate with each other and therefore develop bonds. But honestly you can just do that in ANY game by simply reaching out to people and communicating. You don't need a game to do it for you.

    Most of the people I am currently playing FFXIV with are people I did not know before I started paying it. I have met many new people, both in the PA community and outside of it and have been having a blast, this happened without the game forcing me to play in a group with people while I level or through other artificial means. In FFXI if you didn't have a group to level you were shit out of luck, so it necessitated that people form connections and static leveling groups etc to even continue forward. It worked because of that, but I would argue the game suffered a lot because of it as well.

    In short, current MMOs can have very strong, or very weak communities depending entirely on how much effort the players themselves put out in maintaining them.

    e: This is also why you hear people say that FFXIV has the best communities, and also the worst. Because it contains pretty much the entire spectrum of community types :)

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  • MeisterMeister Registered User regular
    For me it's not about community or interpersonal communication necessarily, but about cooperative interaction in gameplay.

    Take your standard MMO. There are essentially two gameplay modes. Solo questing, where you usually just mindless spam abilities or a set rotation. Then there's dungeons/raids, where you usually have to pay attention to your teammates and interact with them in some manner (even DPS usually has to use CC to peel for teammates).

    So I guess on that measure, I misspoke, because dungeons crawlers usually have little cooperative interaction, and you're right that solo play is basically identical to group play in those games.

    It's a shame that there are so many PvP games that require interesting and deep teamplay immediately post-tutorial, but that seemingly all PvE games lock their good team content behind hours and hours of solo grinding.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    Meister wrote: »
    For me it's not about community or interpersonal communication necessarily, but about cooperative interaction in gameplay.

    Take your standard MMO. There are essentially two gameplay modes. Solo questing, where you usually just mindless spam abilities or a set rotation. Then there's dungeons/raids, where you usually have to pay attention to your teammates and interact with them in some manner (even DPS usually has to use CC to peel for teammates).

    So I guess on that measure, I misspoke, because dungeons crawlers usually have little cooperative interaction, and you're right that solo play is basically identical to group play in those games.

    It's a shame that there are so many PvP games that require interesting and deep teamplay immediately post-tutorial, but that seemingly all PvE games lock their good team content behind hours and hours of solo grinding.

    Again though in an MMO (and other games) you can bring your group content into the solo questing. Most MMOs these days allow you to tackle quests in a group as well.

    I agree that you don't get the same level of interaction as you get via Dungeons and raids though, but unfortunately once you start applying that to the leveling experience you start requiring groups, and once you do that you run into the previously mentioned issues.

    You keep saying you have to solo grind, but honestly you only have to solo grind if you choose to. You CAN play the game in a group just as easily, you just have to decide to do it. The game won't do it for you. You can literally play most MMOs from the very beginning levels to the ends levels in a group, I've done it, it's a fun experience but the onus is on YOU now instead of the game forcing it. This is to ensure that people who don't want to play in a group can still enjoy the game as well.

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  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    I miss City of Heroes/City of Villains. Most characters could solo, but it inevitably went faster and was more fun as a group. As the group got larger you needed to think more about what you were doing and group composition and such, but with 3 or 4 peeps you had pretty free reign and all missions could be bumped up and down in difficulty.
    It definitely had weaknesses in mission design, but I still miss it. A lot.

    That whole "Can solo, but grouping is more fun!" is something a lot of designers today mess up. Not enough instanced missions/quests and they generally don't scale much either. No tweaking either so that groups can do anything from casual to hardcore.

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    I miss City of Heroes/City of Villains. Most characters could solo, but it inevitably went faster and was more fun as a group. As the group got larger you needed to think more about what you were doing and group composition and such, but with 3 or 4 peeps you had pretty free reign and all missions could be bumped up and down in difficulty.
    It definitely had weaknesses in mission design, but I still miss it. A lot.

    That whole "Can solo, but grouping is more fun!" is something a lot of designers today mess up. Not enough instanced missions/quests and they generally don't scale much either. No tweaking either so that groups can do anything from casual to hardcore.
    I think a large part of the CoX success on this front was the Sidekick and later the Exemplar systems. Letting a lower level character temporarily scale his/her/its power to near that of a higher level character (or the other way around with a higher level character scaling down) allowed a lot more flexibility in forming groups then you find in other MMOs (in my limited experience). When you wanted to group, you could group with anyone that was online, instead of being limited to people around your own level.

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  • DelphinidaesDelphinidaes FFXIV: Delphi Kisaragi Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    see317 wrote: »
    I miss City of Heroes/City of Villains. Most characters could solo, but it inevitably went faster and was more fun as a group. As the group got larger you needed to think more about what you were doing and group composition and such, but with 3 or 4 peeps you had pretty free reign and all missions could be bumped up and down in difficulty.
    It definitely had weaknesses in mission design, but I still miss it. A lot.

    That whole "Can solo, but grouping is more fun!" is something a lot of designers today mess up. Not enough instanced missions/quests and they generally don't scale much either. No tweaking either so that groups can do anything from casual to hardcore.
    I think a large part of the CoX success on this front was the Sidekick and later the Exemplar systems. Letting a lower level character temporarily scale his/her/its power to near that of a higher level character (or the other way around with a higher level character scaling down) allowed a lot more flexibility in forming groups then you find in other MMOs (in my limited experience). When you wanted to group, you could group with anyone that was online, instead of being limited to people around your own level.

    I would agree, and a fair amount of MMOs these days incorporate similar systems.

    It will be really interesting to see how they handle something like that in a leveless system though. Supposedly Everquest Next will have such a system so i'm curious if it will end up being easier to players to play together, or some other factor will limit it instead of levels.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    I've really never understood why so many MMOs go with the system of linear advancing levels that everybody's familiar with, rather than going with more open-ended systems where you just purchase upgrades with exp. In (say) WoW if I want to be a healer, I have to level all the way to max level on a mostly individual basis, then pick the 'healer' role and learn to do that. Whereas in Planetside 2 if I want to be a medic, I just started putting my earned exp into that category and I get progressively better at it as I level up.

    Obviously that's not an apples to apples comparison in terms of the types of games we're talking about and the stepwise leveling paradigm does have a few virtues (guiding players through story, gating content etc), but a lot of games seem to use that scheme for no reason other than that it's what everybody is used to.

    CoX is a decent example of a game that got a lot of stuff right, but it's also worth mentioning that CoX 'solved' most of its balance problems by just making all the content dead easy. It's no big deal to drag along a -1 level 'sidekick' who may or may not be able to contribute anything meaningful if your character could just solo everything anyway.
    Meister wrote: »
    The problem with creating the type of play you want to experience is that solo content doesn't become group content just because you're doing it in a party.

    A good example of this is Rift's instant adventure. It boils down to group kill quests, where you have to kill X whatevers with other people. It doesn't require any cooperation; you're just doing exactly what you would be doing solo, but with other characters next to you.

    Many of the factors that made queue times and group play time-consuming have been circumvented in modern MMOs.

    Firstly, most old MMOs create holy trinity-based group content. This always ends up with a surfeit of a DPS and a lack of tanks and healers. Modern MMOs either use non-trinity cooperation (e.g. GW2) or classes that can fulfill multiple roles (Rift, Wildstar).

    Secondly, old MMOs didn't have very good group-finding tools, like cross-server dungeon finders.

    Finally, old MMOs created simplistic, level-gated group content (dungeons) that were meant to be done once, then never again. If group content is repeatable, then it increases your player pool for group content.

    With these modernizations, it seems reasonable to imagine that there could be group content with nigh-instant queue times.

    The trinity model exists for a good reason: role specialization enables complexity. A 'healer' character in an MMO might have 20-25 abilities that they use to heal, and there might be 3-4 classes that heal with variations of similar functionality. Likewise for characters who tank or DPS. In game like TERA or GW2 or CoX that mostly rejects the trinity model, encounters wind up being fairly simple and formulaic; every character can't have 60+ abilities but everybody has to be able to do everything, so the systems used for healing/DPSing/'tanking' are necessarily simplified.

    The issue is that there are some ways in which the trinity model distributes responsibility that wind up being uneven; lots of people don't want the perceived increase in responsibility that comes with being a tank or a healer, so players have a hard time forming groups (the DPS players anyway.) The possibly interesting point to make here is that this phenomenon is pretty much exclusively a tuning problem; at the high end in WoW for example, DPS is much more stressful/difficult than tanking/healing in lots of situations.

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  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    CoX is a decent example of a game that got a lot of stuff right, but it's also worth mentioning that CoX 'solved' most of its balance problems by just making all the content dead easy. It's no big deal to drag along a -1 level 'sidekick' who may or may not be able to contribute anything meaningful if your character could just solo everything anyway.

    In CoH you could easily tweak the content difficulty by enemy numbers and relative levels. Facing maximum numbers and +2-3 enemies was anything but easy and you needed a perfectly tuned group to do it. I don't think there was more than a few solo builds that could do it (and those relied on very expensive and rare power mods). There were a lot more Duo-builds and a fair amount of 5-star-builds (5 players, one from every class) but it was never easy. There were several taskforces in the game that I don't think anyone completed at max difficulty.

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  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    When Cata rolled out me and a couple of friends did nothing but dungeons from level 15 to cap. It was very viable indeed.

    Elvenshae
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I've really never understood why so many MMOs go with the system of linear advancing levels that everybody's familiar with, rather than going with more open-ended systems where you just purchase upgrades with exp. In (say) WoW if I want to be a healer, I have to level all the way to max level on a mostly individual basis, then pick the 'healer' role and learn to do that. Whereas in Planetside 2 if I want to be a medic, I just started putting my earned exp into that category and I get progressively better at it as I level up.

    Obviously that's not an apples to apples comparison in terms of the types of games we're talking about and the stepwise leveling paradigm does have a few virtues (guiding players through story, gating content etc), but a lot of games seem to use that scheme for no reason other than that it's what everybody is used to.

    CoX is a decent example of a game that got a lot of stuff right, but it's also worth mentioning that CoX 'solved' most of its balance problems by just making all the content dead easy. It's no big deal to drag along a -1 level 'sidekick' who may or may not be able to contribute anything meaningful if your character could just solo everything anyway.

    Rather than making it dead easy, make it fun.

    Fun doesn't mean "complex" or "challenging" it can literally be "holy fuck I am fighting 5000 bad guys at once this is amazing."

    I like the system one of the final fantasy games used. Sort of had little orbs you could buy into. And once you go one way it kind of spiraled out from there. So you could build a true hybrid character, or a focused character. I wanna say it's FF13?

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    bowen wrote: »
    I've really never understood why so many MMOs go with the system of linear advancing levels that everybody's familiar with, rather than going with more open-ended systems where you just purchase upgrades with exp. In (say) WoW if I want to be a healer, I have to level all the way to max level on a mostly individual basis, then pick the 'healer' role and learn to do that. Whereas in Planetside 2 if I want to be a medic, I just started putting my earned exp into that category and I get progressively better at it as I level up.

    Obviously that's not an apples to apples comparison in terms of the types of games we're talking about and the stepwise leveling paradigm does have a few virtues (guiding players through story, gating content etc), but a lot of games seem to use that scheme for no reason other than that it's what everybody is used to.

    CoX is a decent example of a game that got a lot of stuff right, but it's also worth mentioning that CoX 'solved' most of its balance problems by just making all the content dead easy. It's no big deal to drag along a -1 level 'sidekick' who may or may not be able to contribute anything meaningful if your character could just solo everything anyway.

    Rather than making it dead easy, make it fun.

    Fun doesn't mean "complex" or "challenging" it can literally be "holy fuck I am fighting 5000 bad guys at once this is amazing."

    I like the system one of the final fantasy games used. Sort of had little orbs you could buy into. And once you go one way it kind of spiraled out from there. So you could build a true hybrid character, or a focused character. I wanna say it's FF13?
    I think the Sphere Grid was 10, the one with Tidus who played underwater soccer.
    Though, for all I know, they could have brought that back and used it or a similar system in another game. I fell off the FF wagon somewhere between that and "You can't wear that hat until you've unlocked the license on the checker board" system.

    It's hard to just "make it fun" though, because there's no single definition of what is fun. For the CoX players, fun may have been running in with a tanker and a half dozen Fire/Kin controllers, watching super buffed imps laying waste to everything that tried to move (well, that was fun for me). For others though, fun may be memorizing a half dozen attack phases of a specific boss and planning exactly where everyone has to be if they hope to survive the encounter for a chance at the better sword. It's hard to make a single system that can appeal to all players.

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Why not both?

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    CoX is a decent example of a game that got a lot of stuff right, but it's also worth mentioning that CoX 'solved' most of its balance problems by just making all the content dead easy. It's no big deal to drag along a -1 level 'sidekick' who may or may not be able to contribute anything meaningful if your character could just solo everything anyway.

    In CoH you could easily tweak the content difficulty by enemy numbers and relative levels. Facing maximum numbers and +2-3 enemies was anything but easy and you needed a perfectly tuned group to do it. I don't think there was more than a few solo builds that could do it (and those relied on very expensive and rare power mods). There were a lot more Duo-builds and a fair amount of 5-star-builds (5 players, one from every class) but it was never easy. There were several taskforces in the game that I don't think anyone completed at max difficulty.

    no, it was pretty easy. I was there too.

    Did it require a lot of time invested and thought put into your build? Sure. But if you were willing to do that, the content itself was dead easy: just a big waves of mobs that you'd grind through by (mostly) standing still and using your abilities as they came off cooldown. Some of the incarnate stuff was tuned high enough that it couldn't be soloed, but the gameplay was mostly still really simple.

    And I mean, there's nothing wrong with that, obviously it was still fun. I'm just pointing out that the model of 'bring anybody you want, sidekick the underleveled, whatever' mostly worked because it was really easy

    also the thing with the spiraling skill tree might've been path of exile? http://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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  • NosfNosf Registered User regular
    TERA still has the group monsters there, actually can be a little bit of a hassle as you need to kill a few for storyline purposes, which means you need to sit around at a few places and scrounge a group. Not terrible mind you, but there's definitely co op throughout. I'd think of a lot of these games as single player possible whereas that wasn't a thing in earlier games, and it made it more of a hassle. (Hello EQ)

  • ShimazuShimazu Registered User regular
    MMOs that require collaboration to get things done are a thing of the past. WoW has proven to the industry that sacrificing everything on the altar of accessibility is the way to get massive numbers of subscribers.

    FFXIV - Cao Cao @ Sargatanas
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Shimazu wrote: »
    MMOs that require collaboration to get things done are a thing of the past. WoW has proven to the industry that sacrificing everything on the altar of accessibility is the way to get massive numbers of subscribers.

    EVE is still here!

    Also aren't WoW's subs falling through the floor? Are have they stemmed the flow?

    Tef
  • ShadowmantShadowmant Registered User regular
    There's a real problem with requiring groups for "levelling" content. After your initial influx of players, you'll find that it's easy to find a group at really low levels (people trying new classes) and easy to find a group at high levels (end game play) but nearly impossible to find a group in the middle level content. It's like a brick wall for any new players wanting to try your game and discourages them from getting to the end game content.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    V1m wrote: »
    Shimazu wrote: »
    MMOs that require collaboration to get things done are a thing of the past. WoW has proven to the industry that sacrificing everything on the altar of accessibility is the way to get massive numbers of subscribers.

    EVE is still here!

    Also aren't WoW's subs falling through the floor? Are have they stemmed the flow?

    they're almost down to having ten times as many subs as their closest competitor, it's pretty bad

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  • JarsJars Registered User regular
    edited April 2014
    how did you figure that? because ff14 has 2 million subscribers and isn't active in china, which makes up half the wow playerbase. I didn't know wow had 20 million subscribers.

    but yes, I'm sure that's how things go at shareholder meetings. "yeah we've lost nearly half our subscribers, but sand on a beach!"

    Jars on
    Delphinidaes
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    well, that mostly was a joke as I don't have hard data handy for like, every mmo on the market

    they're well larger than anybody else, is the point

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  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    The latest count is 7.8 million as of February 2014. Their peak was 12 million I think around the time Cataclysm launched, and from there there's been an ebb and flow to sub numbers with new expansions and patches bringing people back but not enough to cover the people leaving.

    It would not surprise me if they're around five million right now or fall to that over this summer, as the preorder for the next expansion heavily hinted that Blizzard is going to pull the Year of No Patches crap they do between the latest content patch and the next expansion.

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  • RetabaRetaba A Cultist Registered User regular
    I would bet a large part of that loss is simply attrition due to time. WoW's system is pretty solid but it is also kind of old as games go.

    Poketpixie
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