Potential benefits of WAR’s open groups

Syncaine was talking about LoTRO, grouping, and why Blizzard’s game design doesn’t encourage grouping with players you don’t know. The WoW conundrum, of course, is that if you never group with players you don’t know, you’ll likely meet very few people in your MMO journey.

As usual, I started to reply in the comments of Syncaine’s post, and realized it was getting long and broke it out here.

Here’s why I think Mythic’s open grouping is going to be a huge success. First, Mythic’s whole game design, from DAoC onward, has been to encourage an entire realm of players to see themselves as part of a large team. Sure, you group or raid with friends or your guild, but you know if you see another player in trouble, helping them will a) help your realm, and b) most likely earn you a friend that might save your bacon in the future.

Open grouping makes cooperation even easier, and offers immediately tangible rewards as well as the longer-term benefits of cooperation I experienced in DAoC.

First, open grouping has a super-low barrier to entry. You enter a new area, and one click will reveal anyone looking for more players, let you know how far away they are, and let you know what they’re working on. One click, and you have a group for questing, Public Quests, or RvR.

Second, the rewards for using open grouping are immediate. You’ll get through quests faster, you’ll earn faction faster in Public Quests (leading to better gear), you’ll complete the PQ’s (which you can’t really do solo) and have opportunities to win gear, and your survivability in RvR is much higher. Plus, you’ll need groups to take battlefield objectives in RvR.

Third, if you have to leave a group, it’s likely that your group will pick up replacements much more easily than they would in a WoW-style group, because of the two points above. I really think people are going to start looking for open groups first, and only soloing if no one is working on the thing they wanted to work on.

And I think the hidden genius of open grouping will be the relationships you build while you level. You’ll remember the tank who knew how to hold aggro, or the DPS class that knew how to peel a mob off your healer. You’ll remember the healer who knows how to avoid aggro (tip: it ain’t me!), and knows how to squeeze in a battle resurrection. And, most of all, if you don’t know any of those things yet, you’ll be able to learn by joining open groups, asking questions, and watching what other people do. What’s the other Rune Priest in your group doing? Is he healing or nuking or both? Healing with big heals, or heals over time? Open groups are going to be the schoolyard games of WAR, prepping you for the big time. It’ll be our sandlot, where we learn how to play together, learn who to trust, find out who makes you laugh, and it’s going to make us want to go to WAR together.

When the guy who’s been in your PQ’s since you were a little rank 5 killing squiqs is shouting for support on a keep defense or keep take effort, you’re going to be much more invested in joining up with him. When you see your friends out in open RvR, you’re going to want to go out there with them. And suddenly, PvP isn’t about getting killed by enemy gankers. It’s about an adventure with your friends. Yeah, you might die, but you’re never alone while you do. And if you keep your friends alive with a timely heal, if you knock out an enemy healer with your bow before they can save the tank killing your healer, if you all work together to recapture battlefield objectives…well, if you get that far, you’ll know why I loved DAoC, and why RvR ain’t PvP. This isn’t UO Corp Por. It ain’t the Zeks, or Shadowbane, or even AoC. It’s about you, your friends, and one hell of an adventure.

It’s going to be a good time :)

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7 Responses

  1. Good article! And that’s a really good point about being able to watch how other people of your class play.

    I know that when I was very new to MMOs, I learned a lot from the rare occasions we had someone else of the same class in the group. Just with small groups it didn’t happen a lot.

  2. Sounds great! I hope it turns out the way you predict.

  3. I have seen this happen already in beta, it is great! I have met a ton of cool people.

  4. Ohhhh good post brother! I enjoyed the read and it will be quite the ride.

    got your link btw :D

  5. If the mechanic works as you’ve described and is easy to use, I think it will be great. I always seem to reference AC2 which few people played and didn’t make it but it was the perfect play-style for someone like me. You could solo or group. For many of the quests and dungeons, it didn’t matter like it does in other games how many people you had. I rarely rolled with a healer and it didn’t matter much since each class had to option of spec’g into a minor self-heal.

    Then the Master vault which were my favorite experience of any game barring the original raid content in WOW was much like an open/public quest. Someone had to have the loot to unlock the instance and waited with said loot around a gathering stone for players of that level – near a major city. People just showed up to join and there was always people there to join. You join anyone’s group it didn’t matter. Sometimes guildies would be there and you get in the team with them. If you were one of the classes that had to be in melee range you looked for one of the teams with a healer. But that didnt really matter either because the healers healed anyone in the frontlines.

    It was around 80 people running thru an instance completing objectives. It was chaotic. It was a mad dash and newbies sometimes got left behind. But it was amazing fun. Public quests sound like they may feel like the AC2 master vaults. In which case, I’ll have a ball.

  6. Oh my god, Saylah, I forgot about that! I was in the AC2 beta. I didn’t buy the game at release, but I vaguely remember those events from beta. WAR isn’t exactly the same, of course, but yes, there are similarities.

    Open-world RvR can feel like that too, 80 people dashing around, trying to capture objectives while the enemy is trying to do the same thing. Fun :)

  7. [...] but rather how it is innovating on some of the old. Open Groups are surprisingly innovative, as others have previously noted.* It’s not just that you can join them whenever you like, which is good [...]

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