How important is grouping in Saga of Lucimia? Very. In fact, it’s so central to the idea of what the devs believe MMORPGs should be about that they reject the idea that forced group content is hardcore. To illustrate that position, Creative Director Tim “Renfail” Anderson recounts a story about a player livestream of the game’s recent release in which some of the players participating were killed by overleveled content and struggled to recover their corpses and gear.
“I was a bit amused at the amount of talk about how ‘hard’ the game was and how ‘frustrating’ it was and why was the streamer playing a game that was not ‘100% win all the time’ (paraphrasing a bit here, obviously),” he says. “I was also a bit confused the group hadn’t bothered to reach out to the community at large to ask for help; they were instead banging their heads against a brick wall of trying to go it alone.”
He criticizes them for being unprepared, for not having brought a healer, for bringing too few characters, and for not asking the broader pre-alpha community for aid. In fact, Anderson himself roused some other testers to help the streamers, “ultimately leading to a two-hour gameplay session during which new friendships were formed.”
“It’s the last part which concerned me the most, because it’s a scenario that never would have happened 20 years ago during the heyday of EverQuest, when grouping up with other players was the norm as opposed to a rarity, and players weren’t afraid to reach out to others, even strangers, to find creative solutions to their problems. Instead, these days players rely wholly upon matchmaking systems which have eliminated the need to socialize with other players…to the point where new players are confused about how to interact with others, and many veteran players have forgotten how to reach out in OOC or via platforms such as Discord.”
It’s possible that, as he posits, people have “forgotten” how to play in group-based MMOs, how to strategize, and how to socialize. It’s also possible that people just figured there weren’t enough people playing in test who would care to help. Either way, interesting conversation.