How To Encourage Grouping In World Of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is a fantastic game, no doubt about it, but I’ve always had one major bugbear with it – grouping sucks. OK, let me qualify that statement – grouping sucks at lower levels. Seriously, for a Massively Multiplayer world it’s a pretty unsociable game until you get into the higher tiers. Ironically enough, it’s got nothing to do with lack of players either because I see hundreds of people running around from levels 1-60 every day.

I love socialising in MMORPGs. Sure, maybe I don’t want to just sit around a campfire and swamp stories – I need direction and a point – but I want to experience teamwork and commradary. If you contrast WoW’s grouping with games like EQ2, you’ll see that these others place much more emphasis on the group experience.

World of Warcraft’s major issues are that it rewards soloing questing too much and grouping too little and also that the player base as a whole is just genuinely less mature and sociable (I know it’s a cliché but, lets face it, it’s true, it’s the nature of the game). We can’t do much about the second point (and would we even want to?) but we can certainly address the first.

Ogrebears had an absolutely fantastic idea for encouraging grouping in WoW, so great I had to write this article about it. He proposed the elegant idea of simply introducing social achievements such as grouping with new people and doing different things with them. I think this is a wonderful idea. Players love achievements so lets give them a carrot to get out of their stubborn ways and try grouping with new people. It honestly inspires me to run a campaign called ‘Embrace PUGs Today’ (-> a light bulb just went off over my head).

There’s definitely other things Blizzard could do to improve grouping and socialising but social achievements would be a start.

Oddly enough, whilst writing this article I’ve started to have the nervous thought that everyone is going to come back and comment on this and say that the grouping experience in WoW is tremendous and the social experience couldn’t be better thus rendering me with the sole thought that I can’t get any groups because I’m an asshole…

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5 Comments

  1. Psynister says:

    Well, I am going to have to come out and mention first that I’ve had great experiences with grouping at all levels. I actually make more friends, with longer lasting relationships, in my first 20 levels than I do in anything else in the game. The relationships I make in early levels actually tend to last longer than those that I make within my guilds.

    That being said though, I general hate playing with so many morons, kids, criers, moochers, etc, etc, etc, and thus prefer playing solo.

    I do love the social aspect of MMOs, and that is a big part of why I play. My actual game play is largely done solo, and since I don’t care for end game raiding you can see that that that translates to about 90% soloing. But because I have no reason to bother actually playing the game with anyone else, I make little-to-no effort to ever bother actually getting into a party with someone else unless I need to in order to accomplish a quest or someone has asked me for help.

    I don’t particularly care about achievements either though, so I don’t know that that would really be the answer with how many other players I know who likewise put little worth behind achievements. Now, if they increased the bonus experience or something similar for grouping, then I would probably be more open to it. As it stands though, there’s very little reason for me to bother joining with a group unless I have to.

  2. Andrew says:

    To be honest, when I’m leveling I want to do it alone – when I reach my final destination, then I’ll group. =)

    I’m assuming I’m not alone in that mindset.

  3. Gordon says:

    I made a ton of great friends in EQ2 but haven’t managed to do it yet in WoW. It’s possibly because people really just want the high level experience and want to get through the low level stuff as quickly as possible and my highest level character is still only 67.

    I definitely think it would help if they increased the group exp rate as right now doing solo quests is the fastest way to level up.

  4. luvy duvy says:

    more group quest not dungeons group quest that have great rewards as if your raiding a dungeon. allso yes achievements like sit around a campfire with a full group for a hour. or kill one kind of monster with a full group till you all level and for godsakes make more elite monsters that you dont need a whole raid to kill just a group to killem that drops great prizes like remember stitches from duskwood or hogger or the quest in loch modan to kill that ogre now thats the stuff rite there to many dungeon raids for me in wow i like the oldschool wanted quest were just a group got to go out to kill a monster pvp quest are pretty cool too they should make small towns that we need to take them over like wintergrasp but only little towns like ratchet this will get people to work together to take over things to get prizes Blizz does a lot of good things with Wow however they need to hire more people with imagination i mean have you seen the pvp gear latly? my warlock use to look in full pvp gear like Spawn with glowing skulls now he looks like he is wearing leather robe and a hood nothing glowing!

  5. luvy duvy says:

    you know those workshops in wintergrasp that once your faction takes it over you can make catapults and tanks and stuff they should put those everywhere in the game lol

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