Sunday, September 4, 2011

Shared Topic: One vs Many? (Solo vs Party Questing)

Perish Twice of Dual Boxing & Death gave us this really cool question:

While there are some quests that specifically call for grouping, most don't... but do you group anyway? How many of you pick up a friend or guildie to quest with and how many grind the lonely roads alone?

<Puts a rocking chair on the porch and puts on a shawl and starts threatening with the walking stick>

Back in my starting days if you found a group quest you darn well knew to avoid it if you weren't a group.  All it took was a bit of sense and the rewards made the extra effort worth it.

All joking aside that's how group quests were handled.  When your in the zone someone would ask for help with Tharil'zun or Alas, Andorhal and peopel woudl come together to do it.  Even if you had done it or weren't ready yet you pitched in to get it done.  It didn't always work of course but generally speaking it wasn't too hard.

In the Burning Crusade you had a few that were HARD at level.

<Eyes OverlordCruel's Intentions >

But people grouped, knocked them out, and got them done.  The Ogrilla opening quests were made a bit too hard and too inconvenient though.  I started hearing a lot of people complaining about group quests (Well some had always whined they wanted to do it NOW by THEMSELVES but they were ignored) because of them.

Wrath of the Lich King had group quests with difficulty scales all over the place.  You could two man some but this one was three and this one took five cause wow it was brutal.  This meant more complaints.  Also the game was shifting to more solo who-gives-a-f*-about-others with the dungeon finder that made some of the required group quests in Icecrown unable to be finished.

Then came..

So with Cataclysm came massive changes as they decided to 'do it right this time'.  With the talent trees we have power creep (lower level talents being more powerful) making a character in the same gear better than she was before.

Doing questing right means eliminating the group questing.  Questing speed was enhanced with less exp needed to level and a huge number of tools to increase exp gained.  The goal was to rush people through the game to the end game where they would do raiding cause that is what the game was about.

Some of you might remember my little Goblin I've been working on, Deepvein.

Now leveling Ive been just dipping my toe into a zone, doing some easy quests then moving on.  I have rested and +10% from guild as my only exp bonus.

I followed my PvP path and at 70 shes head to toe in epic gladiator armor and weapons, quest trinkets and one ring.

I did Borean Tundrea 70-71, then went over to Dragonsblight  and knocked out 6 group quests in rapid order.  I didn't even need to use all my bottons on most of them.

It was stunning to me...I expected to do well but I never though I could ROFL stomp Magister Keldonus or Alystros the Verdant Keeper   Then a few days later my sisters and I went to Nagrand on out 3 level 65 worgens.  Hunter, 2 druids (tank rests) and we annihilated the Ring of blood all the way to The Ring of Blood: The Final Challenge with a swagger that taken away not by difficulty but by ease.  It wasn't hard it was just boring.  This was a group quest that took 3-4 70's in Kara epics to cruise through this easily.  In search of a challenge we packed our bags and went to The Botanica, you know the level 70 dungeon.  Our DPS (me) was too weak but we got 2 of 5 bosses down before we stopped.

Point being I think group quests are a casualty of the new mindset for the game.  Both solo is king and give the player lots of options for character power.  Some poor guy just starting out would run into them like a wall while other characters are overpowered.  So they don't worry about them at all and their loss grieves me.

So now I level entirely alone outside of PuG so frustrating i have to rant about them.  With my stable of characters you might guess I do a fair bit of leveling and the changes leave me feeling like I'm just replaying a solo game.  That isn't fun.  Neverwinter Nights does that better.  Heck Warcraft RTS does that better.

There are also a few other problems when grouping we have discovered.

1) EXP Nerf:  Back a while ago Blizzard implemented an exp penalty for gouping.  i forget the breaking point I think at 4 you get 0 negative and 5 you get a slight bonus.  So 2-3 man groups are penalizing their kill exp.  I go back and forth on the idea but mostly I think it sucks.  Its a reason the Recruit a Friend tripple (!) exp bonus was given.  Otherwise helping your friend would mean you leveled more slowly.

2) Quest Drop Problems/Linear Cata Quests: When a quest tells you to gt 5 wombat ears and they have a 20% chance fo dropping them...and you have 5 people to do it for...that is just an awful lot of wombats.  And thanks to Cata's SO much better quest design you cant EVER skip these quests that have nothing to do with the story.  Unless you make it past them the rest of the zone is locked away.  They littered the zones with these quests in what at times feels personal effort to make grouping nigh impossible for me.

3) Profession problems: When your questing and you see an ore node and want to wander over and mine it there is no problem if your by yourself.  When your in a group everyone needs to (more or less) wait on you.  Then there is the conflicts if two or more people have the same skill.  Its not that big a deal but it is an issue in most of the little groups I've been in. Someone wants x herb so he agros extra stuff so the other guy gets mad...Etc...Etc.

So were left with many reasons to not group with others and few motivations to do so.  Thats a pretty bad design if you want a social game.  Blizzard wants us to head to the end of the many choices I am extremely unhappy about they have made lately.


  1. I do like being able to quest alone, and I do it a fair bit - but I wish grouping together wasn't making me level slower.

    I do wonder how much slower it gets though, since while you might get a bit less xp per kill or have to kill a few extra mobs for both members (or several) to get all of their items.. at the same time the killing would be a lot quicker? So I do wonder how big the penalty really is time wise.

    At times though, I'll take that penalty over the boring solo levelling. Just to get some company :)

  2. I'll do some research with friends and get the penalty numbers. I remember it taking the recruit a friend to negate the penalty for duo play.

  3. That's quite sad. Back in the day there was still a penalty to xp for grouping I believe (?), but the fact that things died quicker made up for it.

    If these days you level slower in a group.. that's just sad. While I do like being able to solo when I want to, I don't think it should be slower to level together. Not necessarily faster, but the time it takes shouldn't be longer.