One of the most interesting things to cover when it comes to Pantheon’s development has been its reconciliation of two superficially opposing ideas for social systems in MMOs: the old-school, hands-off, organic approach that leaves socializing entirely up to the players vs. modern contrivances that proactively group players together. The goal, however, is one and the same, and that’s to create a truly social community and “forging true relationships.”
Indeed, that’s what Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid attempts to explain in a new dev blog today focused on matchmaking and the LFG. Because… there will be a LFG tool — “or, really, set of tools. A suite a completely optional tools and mechanics that help people find real friends, help them group with those friends, help keep those friends together in a group.” McQuaid explains that the game is embracing a more “proactive” stance than what players might recall from EverQuest, using “positive reinforcement to rewards players” who make community happen.
That said, you won’t see “some of the more ‘modern’ systems that just bring people together to do an instance and then, afterwards, those people spread about by the wind, no reason to speak during the instance, nor afterwards… no reason to really even talk much if at all,” he says. “Total, even blatant disregard for shared experiences and how incredibly powerful and memorable, due to the way our brains are wired, they truly are.”
Even so, he seems aware that some “alarmist” people are going to freak out at the plan.
“Some of this stuff, especially on the surface, is going to appear, at least initially, as inconsistent, even incompatible…. both incompatible in terms of gameplay and experiencing the game pre-launch but also incompatible, at least on the surface, with some of our tenets, the FAQ, etc. But, as I always try to put out there: we’ve no interest in creating an emulator, or simply bringing back the past. Yes, Pantheon has the same spirit and feel as many of the classics — we’ve already achieved that, verified it, and are proud of it. But it’s also so much more — so much more at launch, and then holy crap! we have some crazy cool stuff that is integral to the Grand Vision, that we’ve been waiting years even decades to get into an MMO like this.”