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Forced Grouping vs The Solo Adventure: What do you prefer?Follow

#1 Sep 19 2013 at 3:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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Hello everyone!

Lately, I've seen some discussion here and there about why FFXIV is great/not so great because of the lack of mandatory party play, outside of first time dungeon clears/endgame. So I thought it would be nice to see where exactly we as a community stand on this topic. Do you feel that FFXIV would be much better if we were forced to create parties for leveling and quests? Or do you feel that FFXIV's current environment of being able to largely solo your way through the levels and story is best? Let's see where the discussion leads!

Keep in mind, the following is spoken in the context of leveling and storyline only. I'm not touching on other aspects such as endgame, because as far as I'm aware, no MMORPG out there allows you to completely solo (relevant) endgame content. If I'm mistaken about this, feel free to bring it up!

First, my opinion on this: I support being able to solo your way through the levels and the storyline that FFXIV currently has in place (with the few mandatory dungeons requiring a party being no problem to me as well). This is coming from someone who's very first MMORPG was FFXI and grew up playing the game, so I'm entirely used to forced grouping for almost everything as the way to go. There are several reasons to why I prefer the solo trend. First reason: I'm antisocial for the most part both in real life and in-game (in before "why are you playing a MMORPG?!"), so I love the fact that I can just hop on, see if anything is going on in my FC, and if not, I can carry on and do my own thing with no hitch. Second reason: I grew up. I know that's a little vague so to put that in detail: I no longer have the free time that I did when I was playing FFXI years ago. When all I had to worry about was school and doing homework, I didn't mind having to wait around for a party or taking the time to put together my own, because I had the free time for it. But now that I have a job (serving in the Navy), have bills to pay, and various other things that come with that pesky thing we call growing up, I no longer have the free time I used to, and I really do envy those that do have that kind of time, even into adulthood. Lately, I've hardly had time during the weekdays to get my game on, so I have to wait for the weekends to really get hardcore. And even then, that's not guaranteed to me. So, the fact that I can just log on and say "hey, I feel like getting a level or two today" or "hey, I wanna carry on with the storyline some more today" and don't have to worry about hoping a party comes up when I'm on limited playtime is wonderful for me.

Now, I realize that there are pros and cons to everything, so I'd like to list those pros and cons (in my opinion) for both solo adventuring and forced grouping. Feel free to agree or disagree.

Solo Adventuring
Pros:
1) You don't have to wait around for anyone else.
-For the player who only has an hour or two of free time but wants to get on the game anyway, this is a great thing. You can log on, decide on what you want to do, get it done, and log off feeling like you accomplished something that day.

2) You can actually experience a large chunk of the content.
-You spend less time building parties/waiting for shouts and more time exploring the world and getting things done.

3) You do not have to worry about getting stuck on quests if they can be completed solo.
-This is a big advantage to me. In my opinion, the developers of this game really want each player to experience the main storyline as much as possible. After all, Final Fantasy is always about epic storylines. Why wouldn't the devs want you to see it all for yourself? I'll admit that later in FFXI's life, the fact that it became extremely hard to complete storyline content because everyone else was past it and didn't want to go back and help really irritated me. I believe there is one member around here (think it was Catwho) who said she was stuck on a certain Wings of the Goddess mission for THREE years because she simply could not find the required help to complete it. To me, that is completely unsat.

Cons:
1) Solo play doesn't teach you about group play.
-This one is usually high in debate. People will say that a solo adventure doesn't teach about the required grouping roles that's bound to come up sooner or later. While I somewhat agree with this, I also believe that a good player will research their role no matter what type of adventure they're going on, so this may not such be a big problem as some people believe.

2) The game's in-game community appears weak.
-When people do not have to form groups to accomplish a majority of the content, this may become a subject of contention.

3) The world can seem lonely at times.
-For those gamers that thrive in social settings, the lack of forced grouping can be quite the disappointment.

Forced Grouping
Pros:
1) Forced grouping leads to stronger in-game communities.
-When you have to work together a majority of the time, you get to know people, and the good players on your server stick out in your mind as people to form bonds with, while the bad players on your server stick out in your mind as people to avoid at all costs. This leads to Friend List invites, LS and FC invites (and perhaps even forming LS and FCs), and maybe the occasional Blacklist addition.

2) Working together can feel a lot better than working alone.
-I'll admit, there's nothing like that feeling like facing what appears to be an insurmountable task, pooling together the strongest aspects of your group, and overcoming what's in front of you. This can be a solo thing at times too, but it's more common in groups. As for simply leveling, it can be nice to have other people to chat with while you're out grinding at times.

3) Reputation begins to matter.
-If you're a good player, people will seek you out. If you're bad...well good luck getting anything done.

Cons:
1) You have to wait on other people.
-For those players that only have a limited time to play the majority of their gaming time, forced grouping can become a hindrance if they can't get parties quickly.

2) It's not as easy to experience a good chunk of content.
-What happens when a majority of the playerbase has completed content, and you're trying to play catch-up? It may become difficult to get a party to get what you need completed.

3) Progression can easily come to a standstill if you're unable to get groups.
-This is something that usually isn't a problem early in a game's life or at its peak, but can and will become a problem later in the game's life. Once again, I point to my FFXI example of a player being stuck on a mission for years because they could not get a group for it (and people apparently can't be bothered to just be a decent fellow adventurer and go help someone needing assistance for free). This doesn't just apply to storyline content either...even leveling can feel this problem if it's not addressed (where are my old-school DRKs from FFXI at? You know what I'm talking about! However, that can also be blamed on bad job balance too).

Whew...I didn't expect to type that much on this subject. It's just something that interests me a lot, and I'm eager to see everyone's opinions on the matter.
#2 Sep 19 2013 at 3:22 PM Rating: Good
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Why not both?

=D, solo with option to group, best of both worlds.
#3 Sep 19 2013 at 3:59 PM Rating: Good
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MitArgento wrote:
Why not both?

=D, solo with option to group, best of both worlds.


Short, Simple... Exactly to the point.

I played DDO shortly, and I really enjoyed the way they handled instanced dungeons, 3 (or maybe 4) difficulties... Solo > Party > Hard Party > Elite Party.

I wish more games would adopt that type of scaling personally. I dont hate grouping, but I like to play at my own pace, which is usually slower then anyone else. Sometimes my dogs need to go outside when I'm halfway through a dungeon. Anything really, and if I could go into an easier dungeon, obviously with less chance at rewards (or lower scale ones), I would like that just to do story modes or get passed certain parts.

Now I dont mind having to get a group to do main dungeon scenarios, my FC is easily large enough to fill a group and do that, and they don't mind waiting if I have to take the dogs out as mentioned. I wouldn't mind the option though to do an easier solo story sometimes, as long as I could repeat it in a group if I desired.
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#4 Sep 19 2013 at 4:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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This question always puts me in the bad place amongst my peers. Smiley: laugh

I "grew up" with EQ and FFXI. And yes, my responsibilities "grew up" right along side those games. Goodbye college, hello career. So my time is limited. But...

I am not paying a monthly fee so that I can tackle even half the content on my own. MMO's are the fruition of D&D players that wanted to feel more immersed inside gameplay (that didn't require wearing spandex in a wooded lot somewhere). I continue to hold this value sacred. We are supposed to be various players united together around a single table to do two things. Loot the crap out of the storyline and try to make the person behind the cardboard screen cry for mercy because we dismantled their best laid plans! (I jest. Kind of.)

MMO's for me, will always be about community. And teamwork. I understand playing time becomes more complex as our responsibilities become more complex but for the betterment of the genre's existence, I hope one day the genre will look at those of us (aging mmo players) and say, " ain't nobody got time for that" and get back to it's roots.

MMO is in a horrible conundrum of 'sales' vs. 'quality'. I just don't believe the dynamic nature of MMO was ever meant to fall down this hole of mainstream gaming (and in by mainstream I mean chasing after ridiculous subscription quota's in a flooded watered down market). In my view it was always meant for the grouping element 'pen & paper' games required for the most part.

The closer we get to appeasement for aging mmo players who don't 'have the time', the closer we get to single player action games that require a monthly fee to play.

And "Forced Grouping" is a term that irks the crap out of me. I understand that is what it's called but it truly grates my teeth. Much like Hot Topic department stores do whenever I happen to see one.

In my perfect world, the genre would be busy updating and refreshing group play/dynamics more so than trying to appease casual players that lost the time to play the games they loved.

Bleh.

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#5 Sep 19 2013 at 4:54 PM Rating: Good
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I feel that the game now has a quite a nice balance of grouping and solo play. I am guessing that in future expansions and content upgrades they will probably add some group quests to the story lines (much like some of the more difficult missions in FFXI). Personally, my XIV grouping experiences have been 90% and I have found the community in general to be very polite and more mature than in other MMO's.

The only two issues I have experienced is every once in awhile I get partnered up with a tank that seems incredibly young and inexperienced at MMO's and it just destroys the chances of the party in the higher level encounters. The second issue being players that just want to rush through content without taking the time to discuss strategy, buff, etc... For the life of me I cannot understand people who just want to blitz through content...slow down and take in the experience.

So I guess right now my answer is I think at this stage of the game they've found a great balance between solo and group play. Future expansion and updates will then trend the game more towards cooperative play (which I believe Yoshi-P has already eluded to in interviews).
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#6 Sep 19 2013 at 5:08 PM Rating: Good
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As my main job in FFXI was BST clearly I am a soloist. Having said that I also levelled tons of other jobs.
In the days of 75 cap I did do some Sky but could never get past the level 60 capped CoP airship fight
I was also left behind on ToAU and WoTG. I became completely frustrated when they brought out the first 3 mini expansions and left the game in 2010 to go play Runescape.
I, however, returned last year and could not believe how easy old content had become.
I duoed most of the CoP storyline and actually soloed the final fight on BST with my trusty pet.
I completed WoTG again a combination of solo, duo and at times trio.
I completed ToAU again solo or duo.
My friend and I had fun running the Sea instances.
Was this content relevant? No, it was old but gave a great sense of satisfaction to beat it at last!
I also got 10 jobs to 99 in that year. Then Adoulin hit and the old elitist attitudes returned.

In relation to this game I would like there to be some group opportunities outside of dungeons and I mean REAL groups not the mindless FATE grinding groups.
At the moment I am terrified of getting on my scholar and healing in dungeons - I normally go onto my ACN or SMN on duty finder.
I would like the opportunity to learn how to heal in this game in a less fraught environment and that doesn't seem to exist right now.
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FFXI: Kiyaya :Siren:
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FFXIV: Kiya Sirenia : Siren:
DoM: 37 Arcanist, SMN and SCH 15CNJ 15THM
DoW: 13MRD 12PUG
DoH: 45WVR 45BSM 45GSM 44CUL 40ALC 40CRP 39LTW 39ARM
DoL: 50FSH 47MIN 47BTN
#7 Sep 19 2013 at 5:13 PM Rating: Good
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KissMyPixel wrote:

I would like the opportunity to learn how to heal in this game in a less fraught environment and that doesn't seem to exist right now.



Just que up for Satasha on your SCH and then work your way up. You will be fine and probably find that you really enjoy it. Just learn how to properly manage Eos and you will be fine ;)
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#8 Sep 19 2013 at 5:25 PM Rating: Good
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IMO soloing is kind of defeating the purpose to some degree. Doesn't bother me, that's fine if there is the option to do a lot solo...
Sometimes its nice to just go off on your own, turn off chat, and get lost in the game.

Im a bigger fan of options than I am of developers removing a play style I dislike.

I think this game would be so much better if they made the leveling up process a bit longer and then added in open world raid dungeons every 10 levels to compensate.

I really miss that part of mmorpgs where you got into a big group, and just farmed mobs...really got to know the community that way....a LOT less stressful way to see who is decent at the basics too...I think that this game puts you into that position for difficult endgame content for something you NEED to progress and things get heated a lot easier and faster when someone isn't quite up to par. Lot easier to walk away from a dungeon farming party with a few friends added who were enjoyable and competent.

#9 Sep 19 2013 at 5:47 PM Rating: Decent
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DrCapricious wrote:
KissMyPixel wrote:

I would like the opportunity to learn how to heal in this game in a less fraught environment and that doesn't seem to exist right now.



Just que up for Satasha on your SCH and then work your way up. You will be fine and probably find that you really enjoy it. Just learn how to properly manage Eos and you will be fine ;)

You missed the point Darling.
I said I wanted a way to learn to heal OUTSIDE a dungeon i.e in a little group of us all learning our jobs.
I guess the only way in this game is to find people in your Free Company that want to learn also?
If I wanted to Queue ( why do you guys spell it wrong?) I could clearly do that.
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FFXI: Kiyaya :Siren:
99 WAR/RDM/BLM/BRD/PLD/NIN/DNC/BST/MNK/SAM

FFXIV: Kiya Sirenia : Siren:
DoM: 37 Arcanist, SMN and SCH 15CNJ 15THM
DoW: 13MRD 12PUG
DoH: 45WVR 45BSM 45GSM 44CUL 40ALC 40CRP 39LTW 39ARM
DoL: 50FSH 47MIN 47BTN
#10 Sep 19 2013 at 6:05 PM Rating: Good
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I feel like they hit the nail on the head in ARR with a good balance of both, and I enjoy both. Plenty of solo activities: hunting logs, quests, you can actually kill a mob your level solo, plus gathering and crafting. Plenty of group activities: dungeons, FATEs (can solo but better socially and xp wise in a party), endgame.

The key word you used is "forced." Forced has a negative connotation, and while I realize its far from ideal for a lot of you guys, the Dungeon Finder works to solve this. XI suffered from forced group content that you simply would not progress past unless you are willing to put yourself out there socially. Go back in time to 2006 and frickin everything required a group in XI (I mean **** frickin nearly everything - limit breaks, coffer keys, most AF NMs, parties, endgame). Now come ahead to XI today. Say you want to 99 your relic and need to go kill Arch Dynamis Lord. Or say you want to do Legion. Or Voidwatch. Or Absolute Virtue. You cannot solo these things, and its pretty hard to low-man your first time. Assume also you're pretty new and don't have alot of experience. What are your choices? Shout in town for days (which you get lol'd probably and or shouted down by the "vets")? Ask the 2 people left on your friends list to help? It's looking pretty slim. Now...in ARR most of the content that requires groups can be completed by Dungeon Finder. Is it ideal? No. Will you sometimes fail? Yes. Will you eventually succeed? Yes, you will and with much less frustration than getting alot of silence in Jeuno.

#11 Sep 19 2013 at 6:05 PM Rating: Good
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For anyone who thinks they miss forced grouping - think about all the times you got that tell from that somewhat distant friend (you know, the one you would say hi to from time to time but never hung out with really) asking for help with _________(insert coffer key, NM, CoP mission). Remember sighing and cursing under your breath - you really, really, really don't want to help but then realizing you're going to need help later this week with _________(insert coffer key, NM, CoP mission) and you're going to have to ask them. Do you really miss this aspect of the game? Didn't think so. I love the social aspect of the game like chatting in FC or LS chat or FATE parties but really do not miss roadblocks put in place because I needed help to do something.
#12 Sep 19 2013 at 6:13 PM Rating: Good
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Playing solo you just play for certain achievements you know what you can reach for. When my Arcanist get to level 50 through sidestories leves and Fates I might go back go back and try the first dungeon, if I run out of other thing to do before I quit.
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#13 Sep 19 2013 at 7:47 PM Rating: Decent
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Arcari wrote:
Do you feel that FFXIV would be much better if we were forced to create parties for leveling and quests? Or do you feel that FFXIV's current environment of being able to largely solo your way through the levels and story is best? Let's see where the discussion leads!

Forced. It's not something that is inherently good, but for some people, forced is good. This game forces you to solo much of the story quest, with the occasional group requirement. In my eyes a game shouldn't force you to solo or group for the majority of the time. A game you are currently paying for should give you the option to do either for the majority of content with small forced portions peppered throughout.

Arcari wrote:
First reason: I'm antisocial for the most part both in real life and in-game (in before "why are you playing a MMORPG?!"), so I love the fact that I can just hop on, see if anything is going on in my FC, and if not, I can carry on and do my own thing with no hitch. Second reason: I grew up. I know that's a little vague so to put that in detail: I no longer have the free time that I did when I was playing FFXI years ago. When all I had to worry about was school and doing homework, I didn't mind having to wait around for a party or taking the time to put together my own, because I had the free time for it.

No one is born antisocial, you are either shy or choose to be for the most part. That choice could be a personal choice or belief or choosing a job that doesn't give you much time. Even grown ups have free time, we have a choice what we do with our free time. Depending on the person they choose to take their free time up with more or less work. I know why you are playing an mmorpg, and it has nothing to do with being forced. You like forming connections, just like every human being. How many connections we form has to do with how comfortable we are with meeting new people. All it takes is a simple hello and finding things to talk about.

ShindaUsagi wrote:
I am not paying a monthly fee so that I can tackle even half the content on my own. MMO's are the fruition of D&D players that wanted to feel more immersed inside gameplay (that didn't require wearing spandex in a wooded lot somewhere). I continue to hold this value sacred. We are supposed to be various players united together around a single table to do two things. Loot the crap out of the storyline and try to make the person behind the cardboard screen cry for mercy because we dismantled their best laid plans! (I jest. Kind of.)

MMO's for me, will always be about community. And teamwork. I understand playing time becomes more complex as our responsibilities become more complex but for the betterment of the genre's existence, I hope one day the genre will look at those of us (aging mmo players) and say, " ain't nobody got time for that" and get back to it's roots.

MMO is in a horrible conundrum of 'sales' vs. 'quality'. I just don't believe the dynamic nature of MMO was ever meant to fall down this hole of mainstream gaming (and in by mainstream I mean chasing after ridiculous subscription quota's in a flooded watered down market). In my view it was always meant for the grouping element 'pen & paper' games required for the most part.

The closer we get to appeasement for aging mmo players who don't 'have the time', the closer we get to single player action games that require a monthly fee to play.

I pay for mmos for entertainment and connecting with people. A sacred value for me is finding enjoyment in whatever it is I do and sharing that joy with other people who would receive me.

MMO's for me, will always be about the community and entertainment. The teamwork aspect can either be a part of that or not. We are part of this community just by logging in the game and playing. Just like we are part of a community by living in a neighborhood. We are part of a community when we are around co-workers at a job. Being forced to live by or work around others is a community. But that doesn't necessarily mean we talk to everyone in those communities. And it certainly doesn't mean you will or won't form strong connections with the people in those communities or like them. Even in the military where banding together is vital in the case of war. They might all work together but not everyone likes everyone.

The closer a game gets to forcing me to do a lot of things I don't want to do, even though I pay for it. The closer we get to people finding resentment in a game.

If there is any confusion on my stance it is neither forced grouping or forced solo for the majority of content. I am not singling my quotes out because I feel they are wrong, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I singled these quotes out because they were the ones that most inspired me and helped me convey what I wanted to say. I want to be a hero, and while a hero can bear the sins of mankind and handle most of it alone. A hero also needs or wants help sometime. A true hero doesn't only save himself but others.
#14 Sep 19 2013 at 9:20 PM Rating: Good
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I prefer soloing, because I hate relying on other people, but sometimes it can't be helped and you do need the extra help. So that being said is the reason why I took up PUP in XI. Fell in love with it. Just me and my Automaton. Took it to 99 and just solo'd everything I needed to solo. I just hate party play because it leads to drama due to gear checks/knowledge checks, so on and so forth. There are so many variables that make party play so....unpleasant that I don't care for it. I mean it's good, but it also has a huge downside of the following.

1. Language barrier.
2. Proper communication
3. Reputation
4. Gear
5. Skill

Those 5 points make it hard to get into any sound party without someone feeling insecure about if they're going to botch up the run.
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#15 Sep 20 2013 at 2:27 PM Rating: Good
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By definition a MMORPG is a massive MULTIplayer ROLE playing game. That to me means it is intended to be played with other people, not just in the same world as.

I was an adult when XI (& the original FF on NES) came out with the same family & career obligations as I have today. If I only ad a limited amount of time to play then I chose things in game that I could complete in that timeframe. After all the game wasn't going to be turned off the next day or so.

But back to the point, to be fair to everybody I think there should be a LOT more grouping opportunities and incentives in this game.
This will allow those who wish to solo to do so while still encouraging gruop activities for those of us that enjoy that style.

Just my 2gil
#16 Sep 20 2013 at 4:51 PM Rating: Excellent
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As long as soloing remains an appealing option, they can do whatever they like to produce a more group enticing setting. If a bad group or player ****** me off, I wanna be able to say ***** it and solo mobs for awhile.

Mobs don't offer game breaking xp anyway, so its still win win for SE.
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#17 Sep 20 2013 at 4:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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I kinda like the balance SE struck with ARR. You absolutely CAN solo every class and job to max while experiencing a vast majority of the game while leveling, but it's more efficient to do so in a party. So if you have time to party it up, grind away! But if your time is limited, you're not stuck praying for a quick shouting match-up before you have to take off again. You can still make some progress on your own.
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