Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

QOTD: Group Play, Theory and Practice

I am extremely gun-shy about committing to ANY organized activity. . . [E]ach time I join a group with friends, I have this fight or flight instinct kick in telling me to run.
Belghast, Tales of the Aggronaut
I have never been a guild leader nor a raid leader like Belghast, so I have an incomplete idea of the pressures involved. What I do understand is the dichotomy between desiring group play and experiencing it. Now what I am about to say is no reflection on my awesome guildmates in Mercy Gaming. They just have a different playstyle than my lovely bride and I.
On Monday night, Knights of Mercy got together in The Secret World to run the "A Dream to Kill" storyline from Issue 7. Most of us had not gone through it, but a few already had. We ran two groups, one of which was a few minutes behind the other. Scooterz and I were in the second group, but one member had already gone through the missions. I'm not sure if the other two were trying to catch up with the first group, but Scooterz and I started to feel hurried through the content. As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time could probably tell, this caused a bit of stress on my part. I prefer to take my time and savor the story of my MMOs, particularly TSW. Again, this is not a reflection on my cohorts; I spend most of my gaming time here and can "afford" to draw out the missions. Many of them are here maybe one night a week.

Another thing that complicates my enjoyment is the voices on TeamSpeak talking over the in-game dialogue. I don't have an easy way to mute TS (maybe there's a toggle I could keymap) and during these Issue missions, I can't always take time to mute TS before starting a cutscene. For me, it is easier if either the in-game dialogue or the guild/party chat are in written form.

Since we felt we were holding up our group and had no inclination to hurry and catch up, Scooterz and I bid goodnight to Mercy Gaming and slowed to a more comfortable pace. We ended up doing a couple more tiers (stages) of the storyline before calling it a night. We plan to pick it up again tonight and finish. The rest of the group finished very late, about 1 a.m. for the East-Coasters.

Something about the way the storylines for these Issues have been written does not lend itself to group play, at least in my humble opinion. Some missions designed to for stealth can be barreled through by a group like ours, defeating the intended feel of the mission. Others are made almost impossible because NPC triggers are alerted to everyone's presence by one clumsy player.

Xander of BtV had expressed interest in accompanying me on my first adventure through "A Dream to Kill." No offense to my worthy Holosuite boss, but I didn't really want to do it with someone who'd already gone through (didn't realize before starting on Monday that one of my cohorts was already a veteran). While I've often said I am not creeped out by anything I've encountered in TSW, I do still feel that any creepiness I do experience would be diminished by tag-alongs waiting to laugh when I touch the duck.


  1. I don't recall if there's a quick way in TS, as any guild I've been in for the past couple of years has used Mumble instead, but I can't imagine the feature set is terribly different... and in Mumble, if I hit the left-alt key it makes it so I can neither talk nor hear anyone. and left-alt again will pop me back to full "chattiness." I used it extensively in SWTOR in the cutscenes there.

    1. Thanks for the tip. Like I said, I'll have to look. Mercy Gaming tried Mumble, and there were a lot of things I liked about it. But the servers weren't stable in our experience, which is why we switched to TS.

  2. Heheh. No offense taken, man. I suspected your bowing out Monday night might have had something to do with that, mostly because I completely understand. For me, though, I approached it from two angles. The first, how does this all play and feel as a group? Answer: pretty awesome. The second, since I will most definitely be doing all the Issue #7 quests again and again to get all the stuffs, how will they play when I'm solo? Once they're all off cooldown, I'll go through them at a much more leisurely pace, sans group/TS.

    I did learn, though, that for future releases, I'll likely run them solo first, then do a group play-through. Like is said, I totally get where you're coming from. :)

    1. Yeah, I'll definitely be soloing or running with only Scooterz on first runs in the future. After that, group play is fun.

  3. I agree. Generally for me, the first time through any content, I like to run it solo. Going at my own pace, which I'm positive frustrates other players, isn't frustrating me. Once I've run it, if I'm running with someone who has never done it, I'm very mindful of their pace.

    That's why I don't run dungeons often. They're all new to me, but not new to most people, so they fly through them at breakneck paces and consider the slowpoke first-timers to be the rude ones. I've been kicked from more than a couple groups in TSW for just being new to the content. Nice, right? So it goes...

    1. Get on TS with the rest of Beyond the Veil. The info is in the Cabal Message of the Day, when you log onto Ocholivis. There's usually people on. But much like Mercy Gaming, they may not be running all on the same faction.