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Default Solo vs. group/raid content - or the rise of a not so social community

March 12th, 2007, 14:35
Well,

It is safe to say that I played quite a few MMORPGs in my career as an online-gamer. It all began with Everquest 1 which I played for over five long years. Then I had a few short appearances in games like AC, AO, AC2, DAOC, EQ2, and many others… until I ended up with WoW, which became my new home for something like 2 years (maybe a bit more… but who counts). Recently I switched over to Vanguard that feels like a return to old values after you've played WoW. Although the game is far from being perfect on technical level, it fascinates me, because it is the first game since EQ 1 that is actually challenging.

Recently Sigil (the developers of Vanguard) released a patch which brought many changes to the adventuring classes, making the game even more challenging, and therefore harder to solo - not impossible, but harder.
And there it was again. The usual crowed of solo-gamers was swarming the Vanguard message boards, complaining about Vanguard not being solo-friendly enough. Interestingly even arguments like, "Vanguard was never aiming predominantly at solo gameplay, but more on group-play," does not keep these players from demanding their share of solo-content.

I know, that not everyone will agree, especially because RPGWatch is home to so many single RPG players, but for me MMORPG IS group (or raid) play. What else should it be? That's why it is massively multiplayer after all. Why should I play a MMO if I never intend to interact with other people anyway?

Now, for me it's clear, I'm getting tired of that crowed of people that is constaly crying for solo-content.

How about yourself? Do you also feel that way, or do you belong to the people who would like to see way more solo content in modern MMOs - and why?
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March 12th, 2007, 15:50
Surprisingly enough, I agree. Just as I think that Single Player RPG's should be able to focus on their strengths, so should MMO's. That strength comes largely from the social and group aspects, not as a solo adventure.

I liked the solo side of Guild Wars, but not the grouping. But does that mean they should screw with the main part of the game to suit me? No way!

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March 12th, 2007, 16:48
I play WoW and in theory it would be cool to adventure in a group, just like in PnP… but we have to face it, nearly 100 % of the people you meet are… *not fun to play with* - so solo-content is all that remains

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March 12th, 2007, 17:49
I agree too. When I used to play DAOC (quit just after ToA was released) I remember one guy had like 4 account and played 4 characters at the same time and all he did was solo/farm with his characters. I cannot for the life of me see how that could possibly be fun. MMORPG's are based on repetitive gameplay so if you don't have some buddies to play with they are mind numbingly boring.

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March 13th, 2007, 00:22
I just prefer to solo. I sometimes join groups or have others join me, but I prefer to be alone most of the time. And the opposite happens with SP games. the forums are crowded with people complaining there is no MP. For me a good game has both options. A person shouldn't be forced to play with others in order to play any game, nor should someone who wants to group not be able to do that.
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March 13th, 2007, 01:21
I prefer smaller groups, 5-15 or so in size, because then you can find certain good friends that you enjoy playing with and stick together - the whole 40 man thing means fighting, arguments and so on because there will always be people that just don't get along with each other.

The new 25-man limit in WoW is a decent size, still a bit too big in my opinion, but it does make it easier to stick with the same few people instead of a 300 man guild with lots of conflicts.
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March 14th, 2007, 19:34
I have quit MMOs for good. I solo-ed so much in MMOs that I ended up deciding playing single-player games was better and cheaper than wasting my time in an MMO. I realized that I dont really enjoy socializing (my personality type is not very social at all) anyway so whats the point of playing an MMO alone? Might as well play fun single-player games that dont have so much of a grind and do not have subscription fees. Plus there arent any gankers to piss me off.

Single-player forevah!

— this just in: I am probably not as retarded as previously assumed!
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March 15th, 2007, 04:47
Great topic.
I really liked the trial with Vanguard and am planning on picking it up, also found my EQ2 guild has a Vanguard guild.

I come from Coop days and really enjoy groups the best, however in my experience in mmo's (which obvioulsy is a drop in the bucket come pared to many of you) solo is manditory.
The reasons are in my experience, not always enough people logged on, even if your in a guild.
My EQ2 guild is an EU server Runnyeye, so when it's 7 pm here its 1 am there, so during the week its impossible not to solo if you want to play.
Yes of course I could chnge to an US server but I enjoy the server I am on and I make adjustments when I can.

I remember back when you could maybe spend an hour tryig to get a group together in the early mmo's, then as things happen someone needs to log or someone is a poor player and the group breaks up.
Most people have limited time they can play, so its important to offer them options, if you dont provide at least some solo content you will lose people/costumers unnecessarily.

Its not that much trouble to add a few soloable quest , some repeatables, fed ex and so on, soI really dont see the problem.
This isnt to take away from grouping, but those are customers and if you want customers you want happy customers because they tell hteir friends onteh net and rl.

Lastly having solo content doesnt hurt anyone afaik, unless I am missing something.
If you make a game for groups only you run the risk of very low subscribership, which maybe be ok in some peoples view.
Thing is while I have never played wow, imigne if they made a expansion which was only groupable, np problem right?
They have such a strong position, most wouldnt complain because they would know ahead of time, only buy this if you plan to play groups.

Both are part of the peoples taste in games and part the industry, to exclude one or the other is only going to cause problems for the customers and the developers.

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March 16th, 2007, 18:22
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
Lastly having solo content doesnt hurt anyone afaik, unless I am missing something.
If you make a game for groups only you run the risk of very low subscribership, which maybe be ok in some peoples view.
I think that is a very good point, also a very difficult one. Usually I'd say, no solo play does not hurt anyone - on the other hand, if I look at WoW, I'd say it actually does. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind if a game has content that is soloable - I actually think it's a must, since you will not be able to group at all times in most mmos. But it also poses some problems, I think. First there is the challenge level. For me WoW is just to simple. I can basically charge a mob, turn autoattack on, go to the kitchen and when I come back the mob is dead (well it's not quite as simple, but pretty much). Combat in WoW is just too simple for my taste, and that has a lot to do that soloing has to be possible with every class. Now, if you look at Vanguard, combat is more difficult, and not every class can solo certain mobs. Some people might call that unbalanced gameplay, but I don't care, because for me it is much more challenging.

Also quite tricky is the question how solo content should be rewarded. From my time in WoW I know that solo players often wanted to have the possibility to get the same rewards as raiders. For me, that is pretty much an absolute no, no (yup, elitist raider here). The argument was usually that they invest as much time, if not more as raiders do (two sentences afterwards I usually had to read that they cannot raid because they do not have enough time - yeah sure). But for me killing 1000 dragonwhelps does just not equal killing one big dragon.

Now before you think of me as a heartless prick (which I am, but anyway), I see the dilemma that all this can pose for people who would like to solo, but know that they will never get the really good stuff… I just don't think making everything grindable is the solution.

In WoW the tendency to make stuff soloable is becoming stronger, at least from my point of view. And it was one of the main reasons I stopped playing. I'll give you an example (not sure if everyone will understand it that hasn't played WoW yet). I played a hunter, and it took me quite a while to join a raid force and get my hands on some equipment. Especially hunter ranged weapons are not that easy to get, but I finally managed to first get the epic hunter bow, and then a fairly awsome crossbow from Blackwing Lair (a rather tough high end dungeon). Safe to say I worked quite a bit to get my hands on these weapons. You have to know that in WoW there is also another way to get your hands on some precious stuff - pvp. The high warlord stuff equals, I'd say tier two stuff (the stuff I had). But to get this kind of stuff you had to be quite good. You really had to work for it. But then suddenly Blizzard changed the way pvp was rewarded, and suddenly every hunter was running around with a high warlord pvp bow that was equal to mine. In one or two weeks most hunters had gotten a weapon by solo play (or at least something similar - real group pvp wasn't necessary to get it, solo ganking, or just standing around doing nothing, but leeching honor works perfectly) for which I needed to gather 40 people, several times a week over several months…

For me this is a good example how solo-content can in fact be harmful to other aspects of a game.
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March 19th, 2007, 05:00
Nah that doesnt sound unfair or eliteist, raiding is a very viable part of mmo's and there certianly should be a reason to do them, so special gear is perfect.

I don't know much about Wow, but massivly crowd servers are not of any intrest to me, plus the reasons you mentioned as well.
What i hear, they have made it very easy for anyone to catch on and play a mmo, which is a good thing, though it's seems a little like the differences between PCs and consoles.

I have never play a group dependent toon, but guess I would/could if the situation was right and knowing it was helping the guild or having others available to support.

I really like the way EQ2 has avoided many of the problems (how, I view them) especially with the new EoF, doing nice questlines and raid areas.

There are many things I like about Vanguard too, though worried since the press is doing such a crappy job of covering Vanguard.
You know like 90% of them act like its the developers fault instead of soe that rushed the game out, and that like G3 is how you scare away fans.
The reviewers are accurate in seeing the problems but incompetent in identifing the reasons and how hard the devs seems to be trying to make up for soe's crap, just like PB has wrongly had to suffer at the hands of jowood.

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March 22nd, 2007, 18:20
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
I really like the way EQ2 has avoided many of the problems (how, I view them) especially with the new EoF, doing nice questlines and raid areas.
Unfortunately I totally missed that one. At the time it was released my computer just couldn't properly handle it. I might just give it another try.

There are many things I like about Vanguard too, though worried since the press is doing such a crappy job of covering Vanguard.
You know like 90% of them act like its the developers fault instead of soe that rushed the game out, and that like G3 is how you scare away fans.
The reviewers are accurate in seeing the problems but incompetent in identifing the reasons and how hard the devs seems to be trying to make up for soe's crap, just like PB has wrongly had to suffer at the hands of jowood.
You're right. I'm also a bit disapointed how biased the game is in this case. All technical difficulties aside (and believe me I was very angry at times about all the bugs) the game really isn't such a bad mmo. The PC gamer review for examle was really unfair. They more or less critized everything about Vanguard, even aspects that you will find in similar forms in every other mmo.
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April 10th, 2007, 21:47
After having played EQ 1 for 6 years and UO for 9 - which are different animals - I believe:
- In a successful MMORPG has to be some worthwhile solo content.
- The majority of objectives should be achievable by a single group, and there should be room for small groups of 2-4 people.
- Some high-end stuff (25%; not the best of course, but some things which would allow a casual gamer to join a high-end raid) should be available for single groups or solo-players, probably in form of quests or alternate ways instead of raiding.
- Almost all high-end stuff (75%) should be doable only by raids of two or more groups.

This stems more from experience and feeling than logical reasoning, though

My friends and I had lots of fun in EQ, either solo, usually grouped at least as a team of two, and sometimes on open raids. We even did hard-core raiding for a while, and I say that being in and working with a successful guild is an experience I would wish every player. There are moments of deep frustration and highest triumph, especially if your guild figured out strategies the hard way without help and finally succeeds.

We always appreciated that one has to put effort and commitment into the game, if he wants to see the high-end. Things fought for are always more appreciated than free gifts or or easy winnings. As an example, there were the new 70th level spells (available only by a quest series, which required the participants to be very well geared and to be experienced in playing their character). Some of them were good, some mediocre, but it felt great to get yours, as it was also a mark of achievement.

On the other hand, I dont think most people want or can always raid, but they still like to play and achieve something. So there has to be solo content too, to keep the majority of people interested. I dont think many people can stand a 6 days in 7 raiding spree of 4-8 hours per day for long, and even hardcore raiders need a break now and then.
I think personally that EQ 1 is still the best of the MMORPGs around in terms of challenge and content (even if the graphics have aged). I cannot stand WoW (the graphics alone give me headaches and funny feelings), and I am not interested in PvP heavy games (some never forgave me when my cleric beat a paladin in PvP in EQ, so I left my hands off PvP ).
I have not had a look at Vanguard yet, but it looks and sounds promising too.
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April 10th, 2007, 23:21
"How about yourself? Do you also feel that way, or do you belong to the people who would like to see way more solo content in modern MMOs - and why?"

Solo and group. I don't group and I don't raid. I don't raid because if I wanted to spend too much time in a boring activity I sure don't have to pay a monthly subscription fee to do it. I don't group because I don't have time, if my wife calls or my kid needs me I have to go.

I like specific mmorpgs for specific reasons, and social interaction isn't one of them. Life is multiplayer, but mmorpgs are solo content in life. Would you like mmorpgs banned because you like to spend time in a solo-activity that doesn't promoted real life social interaction?

We enjoy what we enjoy. I like the solo aspects of mmorpgs, some wierd-os like raiding. To each their own.
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April 11th, 2007, 12:23
Originally Posted by Vatras View Post
I think personally that EQ 1 is still the best of the MMORPGs around in terms of challenge and content (even if the graphics have aged). I cannot stand WoW (the graphics alone give me headaches and funny feelings), and I am not interested in PvP heavy games (some never forgave me when my cleric beat a paladin in PvP in EQ, so I left my hands off PvP ).
I have not had a look at Vanguard yet, but it looks and sounds promising too.
Can't say how EQ 1 is nowadays, but it clearly was the best mmo when I was playing it. Raiding in EQ 1 was awsome… much better than in WoW. The problem with EQ really is that it isn't love at first sight for most people. When I began playing EQ 1 did it because there were no real alternatives (UO, but that wasn't really my thing). Truth is that EQ can be incredibly frustrating at times, and is often very hard work. If I think back I remember some pretty shitty moments (for example ending in a high end dungeon as a level 35… I also remember one hell of a corpse run that followed). But fact is that a game is much more rewarding if it forces you to invest a lot in it. Love-hate relationships just seem to be more intense than pure love relationships.

I have the feeling that most mmorpgs are taking a wrong direction nowadays. They become more video game like again since they create artificial barriers for their players. Things like instances sound pretty nice in theory, but are just not quite so much fun if you see them in action.

Fact is that EQ 1 just had more surprises in stock than any other mmorpg so far. Every day you could hope for something - very often you were disappointed, but sometimes it happened. You could run into a rare spawn that drops a cool item or is the part of your epic quest or something, or the long wanted item pops finally up for sale.
Most mmorpgs nowadays are predictable…
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April 11th, 2007, 12:44
I'd just like to add that multiplayer doesn't mean that you should be forced to spend every second grouped with others. Most players I know spend hours in MMOs such as WoW just chatting with others, and that's one of the advantages of such games. Group or raid content, to me, isn't always more challenging or difficult for the individual player; the hard part is to find enough good players, as the weakest link will always cause the wipes.

Defeating a difficult elite mob solo in WoW is as challenging as anything else. There are hunters that have soloed Azurgeos and various bosses in Heroic instances solo, and noone is going to tell me that's easier than killing Gruul. The most difficult heroic instances in WoW right now are, in fact, much harder than the Tier 4 instances, but they might seem easier as it's easier to get a rock solid 5-man group than a 25-man raid.

Example: My guild in WoW had a harder time clearing Shattered Halls and Arcatraz heroic than we did Gruuls Lair and Karazhan, despite the loot in Gruuls being far better. Black Morass, the hardest of all the heroic instances (we haven't cleared it yet), is so much harder than anything pre-Serpentshrine it should contain T5 quality items, yet it doesn't as far as we know.
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April 11th, 2007, 22:11
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Defeating a difficult elite mob solo in WoW is as challenging as anything else. There are hunters that have soloed Azurgeos and various bosses in Heroic instances solo, and noone is going to tell me that's easier than killing Gruul. The most difficult heroic instances in WoW right now are, in fact, much harder than the Tier 4 instances, but they might seem easier as it's easier to get a rock solid 5-man group than a 25-man raid.
You kinda contradict yourself here… at least a bit. If something seems to be easier than it is easier. I've heard the argument quite often, but I just don't agree. The logistic part is in fact, as you say yourself, part of the whole problem. So why not reward that? Getting 5 people together who play as a team IS just easier than to get 40 people together who work as a team - so I guess the coordination and the effort to play as a team should be something that should be taken into account in terms of rewards.

When it comes to hunters and WoW (I'm playing one) I can only say that WoW is just flawed. Killing Azuregos solo is cheap as hell IF you have the right equipment. There is hardly any skill revolved. Heal, Heal, Heal, FD, Autoshot - repeat.
Other bosses are mostly killed by using what other mmorpgs would consider exploits. A level 60 hunter can solo everything inside Diremaul by playing pingpong with the mobs, since this is mainly based on pathfinding AI it can be considered an exploit. I have to admit there is some skill involved - no doubt about it. But I can also tell you that a hunter who can solo Azuregos and other bossmobs from endgame dungeons, doesn't need anything from the mobs he killed (apart from the money maybe and the shards) - so where exactely is the sense in that?
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July 21st, 2007, 16:46
Slightly reading through this I'd say that after the last patches in WoW any heroic content is barely even challenging anymore and with removing the attunements from raiding places in my opinion they just opened another hole for them to be targeted at as people will feel like skipping instances like Gruul & Magtheridon to go kill Void Reaver / Lurker in either SSC / TK - which they will most likely do if they have fairly ok gear and a bit of coordination. However now as in case on our server you see guilds who haven't even killed maulgar stupidly wiping for over 6 hours on trash before reaching void reaver only to find out they can't kill the trash packs around him, which those guilds could never do if the attunements were still in place. Attunements which involved bosskills were annoying for guilds to attune people to yes, but they were preetymuch a gearcheck in a way so it has shown that guild has the neccesary minimum amount of gear needed to enter the 'next level' if such can be called so.

As for the topic itself - being able to raid in large groups while still finding some good solo content avaliable in surprisingly very limited amount of 'class' quests. I enjoy both, depending on the time and place really, I do agree though that there is not enough rewarding solo content as in 1 man instances - but that wouldn't really work again for classes of certain specs. (focusing mainly on WoW as I don't have experience from any other MMO)
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