So how good is the group play part of WoW? On the forums I have met a few people who were quite reluctant to play with a party, as was and am I. I was also very reluctant to join a guild when I was asked. I still did it. Over the last few days we had a lot of fun playing with others from the guild.
In this post I want to share some of my ‘party’ experience so far.
1. The Ad-hoc party
What often happens is, that I am out questing in some area and either the quest becomes too difficult or there are too few mobs for all the people wanting to kill them. Sometimes someone invites me (most often without asking which I find very annoying) or sometimes I ask others to join in the fun. These parties usually last exactly for the quest. It usually does not matter how good or bad the other players are because the group will most likely be totally overpowered for the quest at hand. The good thing is: the quest usually completes very fast and with little risk and downtimes due to waiting for respawns. Sometimes the people turn out great, sometimes not.
Since last week-end I am using an add-on that keeps track of all players I party with and the quests and xp gained with them. I can add ‘karma’ points or subtract depending how cool they were. It’s even possible to keep notes on players and auto-ignore the real obnoxious ones. This is really nice when you are in a totally different area and meet the same people again.
Ad-hoc parties are something nice and I used them from the beginning. Sometimes people request more help than you can give or more time than you have. Just stay polite and explain that you will be leaving. Just don’t do it in the middle of a quest!
2. The Instance Party
What we did this week-end was a lot of fun as well. As you probably know in WoW there are so called ‘instanced’ areas and dungeons that will create a separated instance for each group entering. These are usually elite (very difficult for that level) and should only be entered with a well-balanced group, best if you know the players and their play-style. We formed a full-sized group of five players. It wasn’t hard to recruit enough people: simply by asking on the guild channel there were more wanting to play than we needed. So we went to ‘Black Fathom Deeps’. We had tried the dungeon before and failed. This time it was very easy.
What is important for instances is ‘roles’. Each player should fill one of the roles and stick to it. This has nothing to do with the normal interpretation of “roleplaying” 😉 Instances are deadly and if you are told to be party healer or have offered to tank or pull for the party: stick to your role, the others will depend on it! There are a lot of articles and opinions on which character should fill which role and how to do it, just browse the WoW community and forums. I think that to be a successfull player in such an environment you should have some skill and knowledge of the character otherwise you’ll be of little help to the party.
Bad players will be deadly in an instance which will only be cleared when everyone plays together. Only a well-balanced or overpowered group (if that is possible for the high-end instances) will be successfull. Instance parties should be organized either through a guild or the ‘Looking for Group’ channels of the relevant areas. Sometimes it’s enough to hang out in the entry area of the instance and look for group members. With the next patch ‘meeting’ stones will be introduced that will be helpful in forming groups for instances.
Instances are hard but very rewarding: there are usually tons of great drops, xp and nice rewards for the quests of an instance!
I prefer to play instances with players whom I have seen play before so I know what will happen inside the dungeon when the going gets tough. Nothing is worse than to discover that the priestess who is supposed to be healing you is constantly going off to try to kill random mobs by herself or the tank is not tanking or the mage keeps drawing monsters to him (you should know some of the mechanics of “aggro” when you go into an instance) or the puller is pulling too many mobs at once or anyone besides the puller is pulling mobs.
3. The Fun Party
Last night we had what I would call a ‘fun’ party. Someone asked for help on the guild channel and I was in the area by chance and decided it was okay to help. I invited him. Someone else offered more help. Then someone came in who had been to the instance with us the other day and must have liked it, so all of a sudden we were 5 again. So after that original help request was fulfilled we set out to randomly kill whatever crossed our way. The whole episode quickly turned into a random chaotic but fun killing spree through Duskwood and Stranglethorn. This group didn’t accomplish anything really but it was just a lot of fun + chat, until we turned into a different type of group -> see next.
4. The Raid Party
In Stranglethorn we managed to kill an NPC and PvP mode went on. (Killing enemy NPCs does that to you, PvP will remain enabled for some time allowing enemy faction players to randomly attack you). On the first sighting of a hostile player everyone jumped right on him and …. oops: He died. Well and then he called his friends. Hell it was his fault that his PvP was on and he encountered us all alone in the jungle? His friends delivered swift retribution and then we had to ask for the cavallery! Which promptly arrived: Paladins on horses 😉 All of a sudden there were quite a few players involved in a mini raid.
Raidgroups allow for groups larger than five players to communicate and get organized. Since it was my first raid I don’t know about the ‘organization’ part, because there was none.
The fun ended when the Horde decided to hide behind the guards (lvl 55 NPCs).
Anyway my point is: don’t play WoW alone. It’s a fun game when playing all by yourself. Solo-ing is fine and possible. But it’s no way close to the fun that you can have by interacting with the other people in the game. There are so many people on each server there should be some that suit you for playing. Even if you spend only little time online playing, there are many others who are not playing so much more than you. Team up and play together, it’s fun and it’s part of the game. Most classes are made for partying! And as long as people are nice, civil and grown-up don’t think about age differences. Because most probably there may be a difference of 10 years between you and someone you party with. I have heard of 12 year olds playing and 50 year old gamers.