Thursday, 17 February 2011

Is playing WoW making us unfit to play Rift?

My preferred method of play in diku MMOs is pugging, usually with strangers. Recently I've been doing a lot of WoW's dungeon finder.

I really appreciate the convenience but what does concern me is how self-centred everyone is getting including myself. Spinks recently posted about a disagreement with another player where she felt she was too quick to bail on her group.

I just had a group where I joined as a healer with my level 73 Resto Druid. Normal Old Kingdom. Everyone but one was dead, they'd wiped on the first pull. Before anyone said Hi someone asked for a ress.

I lost it. Screw healing them. I clicked on the Combat Log tab of the chat window so I wouldn't see the whines and clicked Teleport Out of Dungeon without saying a word. They were crap, I will never see them again, who cares?

Now on reflection that's pretty appalling of me but then again the reason they wiped and the healer left is almost certainly they got a healer who needed to respec then drink and didn't wait. Everybody's horrible, the crappy tank, the crappy dps who couldn't be arsed to corpse run, the crappy healer who bailed on them and crappy me who sulked in the Grizzly Hills rather than heal their crappy arses.

So Rift in 2 weeks. And a totally different LFD paradigm.

In Rift you can only group for PvE with people on your server. Dungeons are arranged in the chat channels or by blind tells or by guilds and friends list. So the pool is very small indeed. Moreover you will need to group with people of roughly the same level - in a new game high level people will rarely drop down to low level content and low level people will be too weak to beat the dungeon with so the vast majority of group-mates will be of appropriate level to the dungeon.

This makes for one of the most sensitive environments in which to group. Play poorly and people will think you may wipe them. Be rude and people will think you're a pain to play with. And the player pool is very small:
- people on your server
- who are on your faction
- who read chat/respond to blind tells/are your guildies or friends
- are about the same level as you
- who don't think you're terrible
- who don't think you're annoying

There will be a range of players at different levels very quickly. Most of us will probably be in the centre of the bell curve below the 20 hours a day fanatical players and past the I-can't-make-my mind-up level 10 alts. It's going to be very important to not act like a WoW LFD player.

Because not only is there a tiny pool but it's likely only a small fraction of that pool will be initiators of runs. Most players in this style of MMO are happy to reply if they see a lfm message, may even tell people they are lfg for XX dungeon but the grouping depends on people who can actually construct groups. These are players who can identify good group composition and are willing to send tells to people and build contacts so that they can find the group a tank or some other hard to fill role and get the run started.

It's a lost art completely in WoW. No one would build a group when you can just click the LFD button. It's almost a lost art in EQ2 as people are as likely to ask a high level to mentor down as they are to build a group. And it may be a dying art in Lotro and Guild Wars where you can just recruit henchmen and solo it.

I'm giving serious consideration to taking a break from WoW before Rift. I'll need to get myself out of LFD headspace and into a more unselfish, wow-that-guy-is-so-considerate-hope-I-group-with-him-again headspace.


  1. Not to destroy your hope for Rift, because I'll be in there playing too (can't wait until the 24th headstart), but Trion has stated they are working on a cross-shard LFD tool of their own. Although they also talked about how they want to try to prevent the jerk behaviour you tend to find in WoW's, which may mean people who behave badly, drop groups, get negative rating or kicked, might end up having a harder time finding a group. If they do make the tool.

  2. Well I didn't say I hope they don't make a X-server tool. I like being able to get groups at 8 in the morning as much as the next person.

    I'm just pointing out some of the pitfalls - I even surprised myself last night with how low I've sunk.

  3. Is there something wrong with me that this post was the single most convincing one to get me interested in Rift?

  4. Ha ha, no, I don't think so Kleps.

  5. I just don't do LFD groups any more. From about level 55 or so on the density of asshats and "doomed to wipe repeatedly" groups just get's too high for me.

  6. I didn't realise the Rift LFD was server only, that does make it a lot more interesting. It could actually help build server community rather than just destroy it ...