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Ideas to improve grouping.Follow

#1 Nov 02 2009 at 8:35 PM Rating: Good
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I've played a handful of MMORPGS in my time and FFXI was one of them. I really enjoyed the grouping and small community feeling of the game. After a while I found it harder and harder to find groups within a half decent time limit. Which made the game almost impossible to play because you can't find people to help you. On the flip side there are games like WoW. 95% of the time I don't even bother with groups because I can do it alone. Which makes for a lonely run to the level cap. I've always wanted to see a clear solution to the problem, or attempting to see a balance come into effect with solo and group play.

Problem

I was thinking about the FFXI system and it's pros and cons about how it goes about it. The job system alone is by far the biggest contributor to group play(IMO) It made it simple to level other jobs without having to make a whole new character and lose out on all the quest rewards or crafting skills you have obtained. Meaning you were contributing a body to more leveling groups.

I found many more cons then pros. Cons being some jobs we're considered inferior and would have a harder time getting groups. The level gaps in partys reduced experience points obtained overall and with a 75 level span it greatly reduces the chance of discovering 6 people to work together. The standard group make up had too many players.

Solution

So I was tossing around a couple ideas to the effect of lowering the level cap. If you had a level cap of 100 and 1000 players on. That's a rough estimate of 10 players per level. If you had 1000 players with a 20 level cap. That's 50 players per level. Naturally you remove those not wanting to group, or crafting, or questing and you have more potential for groups at the lower level cap then the higher one. It also increases the opportunity to find people near your own level for maximum EXP gains.

Another idea would be a reward system. Like they had for the Promy quests at the crags. You got an experience scroll used on any job for it. Everyone likes rewards. No good deed should go unrewarded. It makes people less likely to help. Which in turn decreases grouping.

My last idea would be smaller groups. Say HALF the size they were in XI. 6 Players is nice and all, but I think 3-4 would be about optimum. Tank, Damage, Heal/Support. Three or four total rolls don't need to be duplicated into 6 slots. Which again, increases your chance of finding a complete group instead of desperately spamming for that last group member.

And finally, my last point...is that I wish I had a smaller post to present my ideas. This much reading will probably lead to less people actually reading the whole post.
#2 Nov 02 2009 at 9:47 PM Rating: Decent
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This is a really good idea considering that one of the major issues most players had was trying to balance the time they had available to play XI vs the time they spent waiting to get a group.

SE has done quite a bit to resolve this, but nowadays its more out of necessity than it is to make the game more playable or enjoyable. FFXI is slowly dissolving and with it the ability to create groups as easily due to less population.

Level sync, Fields of Valor and Campaign did quite a bit to relieve some of the frustrations people were having with the grouping issues. I don't mind lfg, but its nice to have something to do in the meantime that is still productive. While not as good as most groups exp/hr its still comparable and you're working toward other goals at the same time (tabs and notes).

Most of the cons you pointed out aren't really issues with grouping so much as they are job related issues. With so many jobs available to play it does make it harder to find groups. Many of the 'less desirable' jobs just needed a boost that make them more appealing for group play. This is easily evidenced by the recent job additions and how most of them lean toward group benefits for jobs that are usually left out of groups. I do think that groups could be smaller, but not by much. I think 4-5 is about the lowest you should go. Look at all the roles you have in a group. Tank, healer, nuker, mage/support, melee/support, melee DD. /support being some sort of buff/refresh or debuffing job. 6 class types that fit into the 6 slots in a group. It seems like a good fit to me, but it would be great if the amount of exp gained would just scale with the amount of players in the group.

Another major issue with grouping is the absolute necessity of specific jobs in order to maintain efficiency. I have nothing against Rdm, Cor or Brd, but having to bother people who are not seeking a group just to get a bit of exp is a flaw. The /heal mechanic in FFXI causes it to take too much time with smaller groups who don't have these classes. I had an idea for a mechanic that scaled depending on how many people you had in your group. Alliances or groups of 6 get no benefit. A group of 5 would get a bonus of +2 hmp and hhp, a group of 4 would get +4 and a trio would get +6.. something like this being applied as a buff after a mob that /check T or better was killed. The buff would last a certain amount of time and wear off if a mob EM or lower was killed. Something to this effect could be a nice bonus for smaller groups.

I think that alot of people think that XIV will be similar to XI in many respects, but I don't think it will be. I honestly think alot of people will think it is really easymode compared to the level of time and coordination that XI takes to complete alot of tasks. Time will tell I guess.

*Edit* - I can speel, really I can.

Edited, Nov 2nd 2009 10:55pm by FilthMcNasty
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#3 Nov 02 2009 at 10:08 PM Rating: Good
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snieh wrote:
So I was tossing around a couple ideas to the effect of lowering the level cap.

I don't agree with this. I see what you are trying to get at, but you encounter other problems

First what matters is not the max level, but the size of the interval at which people can effectively party together. A level cap of 20 where parties can have a spread of 3 levels is the same as a level cap of 100 where parties can have a spread of 15 levels.

Something has to be sacrificed to bridge the gap though. IF you have too few levels then either players will level through the game too quickly or each level will have to last a long time, so players feel like they make little progress. If you have a lot of levels with a wide interval people can party at, then levels feel meaningless because you don't make much noticeable gain. You are able to fight the same thing you fought 15 levels ago for exp.

I think level sync (and various other versions) were a good solution. I think level sync in FFXI was done the best.
snieh wrote:
My last idea would be smaller groups. Say HALF the size they were in XI. 6 Players is nice and all, but I think 3-4 would be about optimum. Tank, Damage, Heal/Support. Three or four total rolls don't need to be duplicated into 6 slots. Which again, increases your chance of finding a complete group instead of desperately spamming for that last group member.

While I think 3 is cutting it far too small, I do agree that 6 players is too much hassle to coordinate most of the time. The problem was that practically every activity required 6 or more people. More options for smaller groups will increase grouping frequency.



One thing I felt FFXI really lacked was spontaneous grouping. In most every MMORPG I have played I would occasionally meet players in the field, we'd be doing the same quest, and decide to join together spontaneously. This never happens in FFXI. Every group is a shout, planned, meet up at a specific location, then head to the objective. Warhammer's Public Quest system was a great tool for spontaneous grouping.
#4 Nov 02 2009 at 11:07 PM Rating: Good
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I personaly would like to be able to have a 6 or 10 man party, in addition to having a 3 man party be equally effective.
#5 Nov 15 2009 at 8:47 AM Rating: Decent
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I beleive it's been stated that group size will not cause xp rewards or penalties. Probably due to the fact that the game won't have experience in the traditional sense.

We won't be gaining # xp per mob kill. We will be gaining % of skill up per hit landed, attack dodged, attack blocked, hit taken, spell cast, skill used, etc. For stats like hp/mp it's my guess that we will skill up HP by taking damage and MP by using spells. Similar to FFII.

It has also been said that fighting whole groups of mobs will play a bigger role this time. So a group of 3 players could fight groups of 2-4 mobs and gain the same as a group of 10 players fighting 7-13 mobs. It really all depends on how well you do in battle. This way group size matters less and what you choose to hunt matters more.

Lowering level cap would be bad.

Quote:
IF you have too few levels then either players will level through the game too quickly or each level will have to last a long time, so players feel like they make little progress


Either way it's bad. Hitting cap too fast is bad. Each level taking forever to gain is bad.

Using skill ups instead of levels could have solved this for us too. Maybe.

One is that we'll still have to skill up with groups within a certain skill range from us to be effective and still make progress. This could be ok but it could be really bad too.

It could also mean that we'll have free reign. We might be able to group with players of any skill level and still get skill ups.

It might also only be limited by the mobs we hunt. Mobs have skill levels too. If you hunt too far under your skill level you might not make real gains.
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