It’s up to you

Way back in my tabletop gaming days, I learned that a good group makes all the difference in an evening of play.  You can put six random people at a table, on two successive Friday nights, and have everyone play the same adventure with the same dungeon master using the exact same rules, and your experiences can be completely different.

One group might be contentious, and have players who would rather argue with each other instead of getting into their characters and making it fun. They might not cooperate with each other, they might not follow the rules, they might nitpick and nag the DM to death. Or themselves to death, when the frustrated DM drops them all into a pit with sharpened and poisoned sticks at the bottom. Not that I’ve ever done that.

The other group might put their real life personalities aside for the evening, and get into playing a character. If there is a real life personality conflict, they might choose to act it out in-game, making the story more interesting and challenging. They take the DM decisions as opportunities to add their own actions to the story, instead of challenges to their fun. They put the game before their own need to be in control.

I’ve played in both types of groups, in tabletop sessions and in mmorpgs. MMO’s don’t have the rules lawyering wrangling, but you do get the online variant, which is bitching in General chat, in group chat, in Scenario chat, in tells, and on message boards, about how the game is broken and it’s keeping you from having fun.

I’m seeing a bit of that with WAR. I’ve seen complaints that everyone is in Scenarios, and PvE and PQ’s are suffering because of it. I’ve seen complaints that rolling an alt just a month after release finds you in deserted Tiers, and there’s nothing to do but grind. I’ve seen people gripe about the people they find in open groups, whether it’s RvR or Scenarios or PvE and PQ’s.

It’s tabletop time, folks. If you’re finding something lacking, it’s going to be up to you to create it, or search it out, or find it. I’m reminded of people who log into Eve and saying “There’s nothing to do but run missions and mine….boring!”, or people who don’t like Second Life because a game isn’t handed to them as soon as they log in.

There are times, in tabletop games and in online games, where a player has to take some responsibility for their environment. I was lucky to fall in with the Casualties of War, and I have people to group with for PQ’s, or PvE, or Scenarios and Open RvR. They’re good players, they communicate on Vent, we’re pretty organized, and I haven’t met anyone who qualifies as anything close to a jerk yet…not even close. If I hadn’t found the CoWs, I might not be having such a great time in WAR. Perhaps I’d be making the same complaints about a lack of people in PvE, or empty PQ’s, or everyone just running Scenario groups over and over. However, since I can reach out and usually find willing groupmates for assistance when I need it, I think I’m having a lot more fun in WAR than people who might be trying to solo their way through.

I’m going to strongly recommend, if you’re not finding WAR to your liking because it feels empty, or everyone is doing something other than what you want to be doing, that you search for a good guild. It might take a few tries…if you join a guild, and it’s not to your liking, keep looking. Quit, join another, talk to people in Region chat, start open groups, announce that you’re going to be running Chapter PQ’s for the evening and you’re looking for company, take note of the guild names of people you enjoy grouping with, if you’re lucky enough to find good Open groups. Take some responsibility for the social aspect of an MMO, even if you’re not normally a social person.

MMO’s don’t put you on a linear path with a gameplay guarantee. A lot of your fun will be determined by the people you associate with, and if you don’t take the time to evaluate who you want your friends to be, you might find WAR, or any MMO, a lonely place.

That’s the one place where WoW succeeded where WAR doesn’t. WoW made a game that could be played solo. WAR’s not so much fun solo, but I don’t think Mythic has to apologize for that. I don’t think that was ever their intention. Who wants to recreate a tabletop experience for one? The magic and brilliance of MMO’s happens when you find real people to share the game with; people who make you laugh, make you want to play better, selfless people who will drop what they’re doing to help out a guildmate, or to run a PQ they’ve already finished, or insist that you take a gear upgrade before they do.

It’s up to us to find our good gaming groups, whether it’s tabletop or online. WAR is an absolute blast when you’re playing with friends. I ran Scenarios until the cows came home last night, and there were absolutely epic battles. Being able to chat about the fights with my guildmates after we finished an exciting round made it that much more fun…there wasn’t an empty feeling after the Scenario finished and I went back to soloing. Find a good guild, get involved, and you’re going to find a MMO that offers an experience you almost can’t get in any other MMO out there. I’ll note DAoC and Eve as exceptions. I think they’re the only two other games that offer the type of epic battles and exhilarating gameplay that WAR provides. The only trick is, you can’t do it alone.

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3 Responses

  1. I agree about players being responsible for the atmosphere of grouping.

    But as far as getting the group together in the first place, it can be tough, even if you’re in a large guild, due to level disparities, playing off-peak, etc. Mythic should really add an easy to use UI tool that makes it really simple to find other people who are interested in doing whatever you want to do.

  2. I find it pretty simple to just ask in guild chat if there’s anyone interested in PQ’s, or PvE, or scenarios, but I do have a large guild.

    Are you looking for some sort of world-wide open group finder? That’s an interesting idea, actually. If you could choose the name of a zone from a drop-down menu, and then see the open groups in that area, it would be easier. You wouldn’t have to fly from Flight Master to Flight Master, finding out what’s available in different areas, in times when your guild isn’t active, or isn’t doing something you need to do.

  3. That was pretty motivating

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