The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG is the worst for duos?

    
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As I’ve been playing Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind the past week or two, my husband has been watching me from the depths of his Overwatch games, toying with picking up a Morrowind copy for himself to join me. The thing is, we both know that the game experience in ESO is sometimes hindered by the addition of more people, as the throngs of people plunging past me into my sneaky missions demonstrate on the daily.

It reminded me of something blogger Syncaine wrote earlier this year about ESO: “It’s very obvious a huge chunk of the game is aimed to be played solo, and not only do you not benefit from bringing someone else, in many cases you are punished or annoyed.”

I can think of a lot of MMOs that are great for duoing, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought about the absolute worst MMO for bringing a friend along for basic leveling and questing, and for all its petty annoyances, I suspect ESO isn’t that far down the list. Which MMORPG would you argue is the worst for duos?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Malcolm Swoboda

Most are bad. Some better than others. For example, WoW has a ‘gogogo to this quest’ factor that has made duoing as messed up affair for me, but SWL, while also lacking in this regard, is still an atmospheric and slower paced experience that two players can enjoy their time with. My answer is that it varies, but it varies from ‘very bad to very good’ not from ‘terrible to amazing’. Seems there’s co-op games that do the amazing, and nearly single-player games that are terrible at it and shouldn’t even try at any co-op aspects.

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Michael Lehner

Like others already stated, i think that the verdict on ESO here is outdated. Indeed at launch it was terrible for group play, with all its instancing and the whole “the one who does the killing blow gets credit and is moved to another copy of the instance” mechanic.

But that’s a thing of the past. The game by now works well when playing together.

Also, while some people point at old TSW, that one worked well in group. No mob-tagging, individual loot and most of the solo instances actually at some time were changed to allow groups. Sure the videos were fully individual, but outside of that the game for most of it worked well in group. Only the personal story and a few infiltration missions never were accepted groups, but hey… those infiltration missions which allowed you to enter them in group actually were harder in group than in solo. (More people who can trigger alarms just means higher chance to trigger them… )

In contrast SWL obviously was not made to be played in group. Prime example: if it was supposed to be played together, the use button would take that into account. Currently when playing together, there is an item to use but your partner is just standing in its vague vicinity, you can’t use the item. Instead you get the “interact with player” menu.

Which by itself is bad, too. Unlike any other time you get to cursor mode, pressing the same button again does not close it… moving doesn’t help either… it’s clunky. That’s been reported during the beta more than once, but hey… i guess being clunky was high up on the design priority…

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Witches

The better/richer the story the worse it is for teaming up, SWTOR, ESO, TSW are the worst offenders, and two of these games are my favourites, so this isn’t me putting them down.

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Dug From The Earth

As others have said, any game that forces your group to split up/break in order to do content. This includes quest phasing and solo instances (i dont care if they are main story driven).

To add more: Any game that doesnt share quest progress for things like number of kills needed, or items collected.

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Dividion

I think TSW might’ve been the worst duo-ing MMO I’ve played. It’s a great game, but the quest design is incredibly personal, with all of the quest givers talking directly to you. It wouldn’t have that same feel, like reading a really good book, if grouped with another person. But for just running around killing other monsters it’s fine.

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Bhima Jenkins

Really any MMO that doesn’t drop quest items for both players at the same time. Nothing is worse than being forced to kill 20 boars so each of you can get 10 husks. It makes partying less fun, and less likely that people would want to group which should be anathema to MMO game design.

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Meanie

I actually didn’t mind having to get my own turn-ins in a group say back in EQ, but I can understand that. Sadly though, you’d think that but as time progresses MMO’s move more and more towards solo game play.

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Line

Anything with solo instances and phasing?
FFXIV is probably the worst for duos.
It has both mandatory solo instances everywhere, all the time, as well as mandatory 4-8 players instances everywhere, all the time.

I remember when we were happy to have instances and not fight with others for mobs, and how phasing was a cool effect to advance the story.
Now it’s only here to be sure that we don’t get any funny ideas about creating our own stories, or worse, play with friends.
Gotta keep that LFG tool occupied.

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Mewmew

Since One Tamriel, ESO is basically way too easy already even going solo, adding one more person only makes it a piece of cake that no longer has the smallest bit of fun. Seriously even purposely picking weaker classes the game is too easy now, unless you purposely go for raid content only. Which you could do with friends – but there isn’t much story to the raid content so it wouldn’t be as fun. You usually just drop in and quickly do it and are on your way to your solo adventures again.

It’s a really great game in many ways and I love the stories and characters, but it’s just become so easy that I no longer want to play it. I want at least the smallest bit of challenge, which it no longer has.

I used to purposely go to areas above my level, and it was great. The difficulty would beef up and I’d be this lower level holding my own in higher areas. I get that only works before 50 anyway, and once you hit 50 the whole One Tamriel thing is better because it actually brings the rest of the game up a notch. The thing is that notch is too low and needs to be raised. It’s cake for the weaker builds, not even to mention some of the stronger ones.

It’s a game I want to love but has gotten so easy that I haven’t been playing anymore lately. I will return to it for sure but I wish it was more difficult. I’m not going to purposely gimp myself anymore than I already have, I want the game to be more excitingly difficult and not because I use old equipment far below my level and end up looking like a wimp.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

As much as I love ESO I have to agree it has become too easy. Like you I used to push the level limit, but now that it’s gone instead I’ve stopped pushing to always have great gear to keep things at least somewhat challenging, but even w/mediocre gear things still feel too easy most of the time.

Perhaps they can come up with some difficulty slider/setting, but I can imagine that would not be an easy thing to do right so am not holding my breath.

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Paragon Lost

Honestly anytime a mmorpg designs quests, cutaway scenes, solo instances (for your class, race or whatever), that’s the worst. It goes against the very concepts of what an mmorpg should be. So for me, all of them that do this “often” throughout the gaming experience. Whether it’s SWTOR, GW2, ESO or whatever. I ding them all equally for forcing solo play and not allowing group/duo play.

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Brown Jenkin

I’ve played ESO since One Tamriel and it is MUCH better than it used to be, but on launch ESO was the worst MMO for small group play that I’d ever experienced. I play most new MMOs with my wife (or try to, lol she’s nearly given up on the genre) and though vertical progression is always a problem, I’d never seen it as bad as it was in ESO. The game is highly single player story driven and early on, phasing in the game made it so that if folks were on different stages of quests than you they were completely inaccessible.