The Daily Grind: Why is it annoying to group up in MMOs?

    
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I know that MMORPGs are really big on the whole social aspect, but for some people, it seems like “social” only means “grouping up together.” That’s not actually the case, of course, and I wish that fallacy would go away.

But what I really wish is that some of that grouping-is-amazing crowd might understand is that a decision not to group up might not have anything to do with being social. I like being social in MMOs, but I don’t always like grouping. For one thing, it’s really annoying to get into a party where the other people proceed at a pace that’s slower or faster than yours. I hate feeling pushed into going faster when I want to take my time. Don’t crowd me, bro!

Why might it be annoying to group up in MMOs? What are some of the factors that make dungeon diving, farming, and questing together a not-always-great experience?

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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Robert Schug

I love the social aspects of an MMO but not the grouping part. You hit the nail on the head with feeling rushed or like you’re rushing others. But on the flip side I do tend to meet guilds and groups that just mesh together and make grouping fun. I want to have the grouping options but not as a requirement. Let me fight the same bosses as a group dungeon on a solo basis with the same rewards. I wouldn’t mind the rng being lower for solo play as when you are in a group whatever the rng is has to be divided between either the number of players or at the very least the number of other players that want that item. Throw some different tactics in there for group play to make it challenging too. I hate group dungeons that are “stand here until boss does this then move here / use shield / heal these people then move back to your spot and start your rhythm over again. I mean I want to play an mmo not the next gen dance game.

quark1020
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quark1020

I just prefer playing on my own. Nothing against people, I’ve met both good and bad players in equal measure, but being alone is liberating. I can explore the world, read the dialog, and do my quests on my pace without worry about tedious decorum. It also lets me explore possible quirky character builds without holding anyone back or being judged.

Damon Anderson
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Damon Anderson

Sometimes I just want to be alone boo hoo 😼. No really a great group taking on content with complimentary classes/skills can be and is the sort of high point in the mmo experience, but doesn’t always go that way, various reasons, for me less about game design more hmm people, and yes I’m people too. For whatever reason I have always done far better with soloing, I think it might have to do with I understand and can predict what I can do but not others, which has a large impact on how effective I am solo vs grouping.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

I know that MMORPGs are really big on the whole social aspect, but for some people, it seems like “social” only means “grouping up together.” That’s not actually the case, of course, and I wish that fallacy would go away.

I wish that too. Unfortunately many selfish, narrow-minded idiots still think “MMOs mean you must group up”, totally disregarding fact that many people play MMORPG games because they like “Massive” amount of live players in game areas without being forced to interact with them to complete specific content for specific period of time due to bad game design. Same exact reason why many people also enjoy spending time in VRChat or games like Second Life.

And to answer your question why might it be annoying to group up:

1) it is annoying because grouping depends on time of the day, so for example if you can only play at 3:00AM on US server – you MUST wait for very long queues, especially if you only play specific class.
2) It is annoying because there can be forced penalties for leaving the instances which force you to group up with other players, so for example you might suddenly leave to tend to your children or because you have health condition and be penalized by restricting you from joining any dungeon for certain amount of time. The amount of times you are allowed to leave instance without penalty is irrelevant, the fact that there are penalties is the only thing that is relevant.
3) It is annoying because you do not know if people you group up with will be willing to adjust to your play style and your performance, unless they are your ingame friends who have already played with you. Sure, you can always leave if they do not want to adjust, but some games have strict penalties for leaving instances too often and you are STILL wasting time by doing this even if there would not be penalties.
4) It is annoying because you are forced to wait for people watching cutscenes even if you have already seen them, which can get to ridiculous amount in case of certain Main Story Quest dungeons in FFXIV where you are FORCED to watch unskippable cutscenes which last for very long time.
5) It is annoying because not all games implement perfect matchmaking filter, meaning a blacklist which will prevent any other player from joining your group, with limitless size, if you do not like playing with that player for any reason. This is relevant for both PvE and PvP content.
6) It is annoying because you are FORCED to rely on other person’s performance, meaning no matter how well you play you can still fail to complete content if other people in your group do not perform well. Sure, you might say “but I play in pre-made group”, but even premade groups do not guarantee that all people will be able to perform well and will be able to play during the encounter without suddenly leaving due to unpredictable circumstances. Nobody is perfect and everyone may fail at any time.

All of those annoyances could be easily fixed if game designers were not lazy and implemented a scaling system which would allow any content to be completed without grouping, just by scaling up your damage and health points and using bots. You can still force people to waste a lot of time repeating same dungeon even when playing solo by adjusting the probability of certain loot drop. And many people in most MMORPG games already do use bots for dungeons regardless of whether it is officially allowed or not. And people who like to play in groups with other players can still do content which would scale down your damage and HP depending on number of players and scale up the probability of receiving your fancy pony mount. And anyone would be still free to interact and socialize with anyone outside of dungeons.

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EmberStar

It’s annoying to group up because I don’t want to group with people. I prefer to do things on my own, even when it’s less efficient and takes longer. I don’t enjoy being around random people when I can avoid it. (And to be clear, “introverted” does not mean “antisocial.” Griefers are antisocial. Introverts are asocial. There’s a difference.)

For more specific reasons I don’t like being around random players:

Stupid names. Someone can pick literally any name they can imagine, and they choose xxXXxxLegolasxxXXxx or Girthy_Humongous. Both tell me quite a bit about that person. Namely that I want to be on the opposite side of whatever planet we’re currently on. Even if the opposite side is filled with mindflayers and demon spiders.

“Super Speed Buildfan.” I play Warframe. I’ve played it for a long time. I don’t mind at all helping out new players, even if they’re not very fast or have no idea what’s going on. (Because I’ve played for seven years and there are systems I do NOT understand.) But I HATE teaming with Sprintframes. IE, players whose goal is to join a public team, then DITCH the team as they race through the entire mission at mind boggling speeds. I don’t understand why they’re even in a team, honestly. They don’t need the assistance, they’re not sharing XP with anyone else, and it’s just an added annoyance for everyone when they hit a “Friendship Door” and start whining that they have to wait an entire thirty seconds for someone to catch up to them and press the other button to unlock it.

“Meta Slave.” These are players that found a build (usually in a youtube video) that they have decided is the best thing EVAH. They are clearly using this awesome build, and religiously tracking their DPS. Anyone who doesn’t match that, for any reason, is a scrub and should GTFO. They don’t care why, or what else anyone is doing. (Such as, you know, healing or actually completing objectives to advance the mission.) DPS is Meta, Meta is god.

“Terrible fashion sense.” I don’t mind if someone doesn’t care about character customization. They just want to hit the default and go, because their character is just a puppet to hold their digital sword and hit things. What I mind are the ones who seem to go out of their way to be as visually obnoxious as possible. If there is an aura with particle effects, they will equip it and turn the brightness all the way up. Giant capes, huge shoulderpads, and the most violently clashing colors imaginable. If you just want to dress in grey, that’s fine. But I don’t want to team with someone who looks like a gelatinous cube that fell into an armor store and then a vat of skittles.

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imayb1

Stupid names is a big one. If someone called their character “hemorrhoids” or some totally sexist thing, they may find it hilarious but I want nothing to do with them. :)

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strangesands

Because there are few to no tools that match you with groups that are looking to do something similar, it often ends up being a grab bag of people who have vastly different grouping goals. Allow us to pick ”speed run for loot” or “casual/relaxed dungeon crawl” or “roleplay” or “hardcore difficulty” and you’ll get groups that have more in common. And make for more fun.

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Sooty

I love grouping up for content, guild members mostly but also PUGS. The only thing that pisses me off is in Pugs people tend to rush. I play SWTOR 90% of the time and people are really in a hurry in Pugs, I just want to enjoy the Flash point or whatever at a slow pace which can be ruined by that 1 person, you know who you are.

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Witches

It’s a bit strange when MMO veterans act like if you weren’t playing an MMO in the early 2000s you don’t know what socializing is.

To me socializing is something like a LAN party, or meeting your guildmates in real life, this idea that being grouped or in a guild where you barely know most of the people is considered socializing doesn’t make any sense.

I see forced grouping as something that is only there to make me go slower, when ever i get to the “end” i just roll another char so i can experience a different powerset and gameplay, so making me go slower is only going to make me play less and more importantly for the devs, spend less.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

It feels like people are just using each other to get something.

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Fang GWJ

Simply:
Too many cooks.

As much as people like to think their goals are aligned, they fluctuate as time goes on.

Also, it is destined to fail because in the ideal circumstances you get into a groove. The groove, while exiting, becomes a routine. The routine over time comes too close to a job or a relationship. Why would people want commitments tying them down in a video game?