Grouping Is Where The Fun’s At
Had a blast in World of Warcraft this morning when I took on Wailing Caverns with my new Undead Warrior along with two old friends from previous MMORPGs (they just started playing WoW). Now that might not seem like much worth blogging about except that it is for me when you consider that this is not only the first time I’ve done the instance but one of my very few times grouping with anyone since starting the game back in October last year. Kinda sad isn’t it?
I always just figured I was kinda lazy (there’s no doubt an element of that in it, regardless) but I just never needed to group much in all of my time playing WoW. Even by the time I was adventuring in Outland, there really was no need to group. Soloing was a lot more convenient and a heck of a lot faster. Even today in my WC group I had an absolutely great time yet only chalked about half a level of exp (granted, I was level 25 though).
I compare this back to my days of Everquest 2 when grouping was a perfectly viable, if not preferable, alternative to soloing. They were both well defined options for progress. Soloing was seen as the “I’m just on for a little while” or the “I don’t want to freaking talk to anybody” option whilst grouping was the “fast exp, good loot, fun social” option. Only got 30mins before the wife kicks your ass? Go solo. Got a whole a morning to kill? Grab a group and hit an open dungeon for hours on end.
Somewhere, somehow, it just all got a little muddled up in World of Warcraft.
I know I’ve harped on about this before but the grouping aspect of WoW is pretty terrible and, in my opinion, perhaps the biggest – and maybe even the only – failing of the game. The lack of grouping incentives and focus purely on closed instances (as opposed to open dungeons) has bred unsociable players (I’ll include myself in that). No wonder PUGs have gotten such a bad name from WoW. Had grouping been a tad more vital, and a tad more appealing, players would’ve yearned to group, feared being ostracised and perhaps behaved a little better.
Although I think it creates a few issues along with solving some, patch 3.3 and the new cross-realm LFG system does genuinely excite me though. Not quite sure how it will work in terms of building up relationships and friendships (can you be friends or communicate with someone on another server?) but at least it will certainly address the issue of the time taken to put together a group. Whether or not it will actually make grouping more enticing or the party members any more responsible and well mannered is another thing entirely.