Sunday, May 13, 2012

[TERA] Looking For Group

One of the interesting things about TERA is that--even though it has a cross-server instance finder--transient dungeon groups often still form via the old method of asking in local chat. It seems sort of odd, given the experience in WoW, where the Dungeon Finder has completely displaced asking in chat.

So why does local chat still work for forming groups? I have several theories:

1. First, TERA's LFG has no rewards associated it. Using the instance finder has no innate bonus other than letting the system find a group for you.

2. Dungeons are located near people questing. So far, all the dungeons are in roughly the same area as the bulk of people at the correct level. This means that local chat is likely to contain all the people who might be interested. This is in contrast to WoW, where dungeons are often in a different zone, and especially SWTOR, where the dungeons were all back at Fleet.

3. Queue times for non-tanks are very long. TERA only has one tank class, Lancers, who are eligible for the Instance Finder. Thus the queue times for the other classes can be very long, up to half an hour for healers, and one to two hours for DPS. This makes it worthwhile for a non-tank class to start a local group.

However, tank classes have instant queues. So why would a tank class go with a local group, rather than jumping in the Instance Finder?

I think that part of it is the idea, maybe caused by WoW, that local groups are superior to random groups, which lack accountability. Personally, I don't see this in practice, in either WoW or TERA, but it is a very common belief.

However, I think another part of it is that local chat can get tanks who are beginning to tire of their current leveling activity. Because queues are instant, the choice as a Lancer is very binary. You either run the dungeon or you go questing. But maybe after doing a few quests, you're sort of wavering between continuing questing or going for an instance. Seeing a request for a tank can tip you over to one side, and might even allow you to feel altruistic for helping out an existing group.

Either way, it's an interesting phenomena. I am still not really sure why local chat and the instance finder coexist.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You forgot about warriors..

Warriors can tank but the LFG won't let them at present. A group can get a much faster group if they allow a warrior to tank for them in chat. I see this as a fault of the LFG system atm. Most games starve for tanks.

RJ said...

1. First, TERA's LFG has no rewards associated it. Using the instance finder has no innate bonus other than letting the system find a group for you.

To be fair, for most of it's lifetime, WoW's didn't either, and only started getting them to encourage the less common roles to queue more often.

2. Dungeons are located near people questing. So far, all the dungeons are in roughly the same area as the bulk of people at the correct level. This means that local chat is likely to contain all the people who might be interested. This is in contrast to WoW, where dungeons are often in a different zone, and especially SWTOR, where the dungeons were all back at Fleet.

Huh? While TOR's are definitely all somewhere ENTIRELY DIFFERENT (which was probably their attempt to not need a LFG system), all of what WoW classifies as "leveling dungeons" are set in a zone that's of the same level range as the dungeon itself. The only dungeons that have level ranges that are not the same as the zone they're in are the rehashed L80/85 Heroic Only ones, like ZG.

Kelindia said...

@RJ
Wow exists as two continents inherently meaning that many people won't see certain dungeons. In addition there are certain dungeons like the Scarlet Monastery Dungeons that are completely set out of the way of normal questing zones.

Ted A. said...

It's more a side effect of Beta. Groups formed quickly and effeciently via open chat during TOR's Beta. It's only once the game ships that you can see the true pattern.

Rohan said...

@RJ, that's not true. WoW's Dungeon Finder has always had extra rewards in the form of Daily Dungeons and the Perky Pug.

The Call To Arms is an extra layer on top of the existing rewards.

sam said...

LFG was actively attacked by blizzard from the biginning. They removed world chat because people used it. Early on they were doing short term and eventually perma bans for anyone that tried to complain on the forums that they preferred using chat to form groups.

So maybe not so surprising that without the game devs attacking all offenders who don't use the new tool that people keep doing what they prefer.

RJ said...

@Kelindia
I don't see how that affects what I said, though. If you're questing in a zone with a dungeon, that dungeon is of your level range. The ONLY exemptions are ZG and SM. That you may not SEE some dungeons is besides the point, and not referenced in the original post.

@Rohan
Dungeon Finder was originally released before the Achievement system was introduced (2.0.1). In it's first implementation, it only matched you into groups for the dungeon you were looking for, and provided no benefits. It was only in 3.3.0 that they changed it to be what we have now, where it provides a bonus for using it to complete a dungeon.

Rohan said...

Are you talking about the version where you had to go to the dungeon and click on the meeting stone outside?

I consider that system to be different than the Dungeon Finder of 3.3. TERA's system is much closer to the current WoW Dungeon Finder.

RJ said...

No, I'm talking about the version where you have a UI that groups you up, and then folks summon the rest from the meeting stone. The one you're thinking of was what Classic had.

http://web.archive.org/web/20091107221055/http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/burningcrusade/townhall/lookingforgroup.html

flosch said...

Didn't WoW's dungeon finder immediately start with the 5% bonus for random groups in random dungeons? I'd consider that an innate bonus. If that was added at a later point, disregard this, but it can't have been much later.

Eki said...

I think a big point is that in tera there ARE people at level in the zone questing their merry way.

When have you last met a fellow lowbie questing in WoW? I know I haven't for quite a while.. and we are not even talking about tanks or heals, just ANYBODY...

sam said...

No wow LFG started back in BC and it sucked. They initially started by removing world chat and at one point threatened to remove trade chat because people refused to use the poorly designed tool. They had to offer many redesigns and bonuses to get people to use it.

RJ said...

flosch:

No, that was when they made it the cross-server system we have now, back in 3.3.0.

Imakulata said...

Regarding WoW, there was barely anybody that used the pre-3.3 dungeon finder - at least in late TBC and Wrath, so if Rohan said the dungeon finder had completely displaced asking in chat, I think it was clear he meant the 3.3 one.

What I find interesting is the old DF had no disadvantages over trade channel - it even had an advantage (there was no need to stay in town if you wanted to find a group), yet the playerbase strongly preferred trade. Maybe most of the players would only use a tool if bribed enough and maybe it's the case of TERA too.

RJ said...

What I find interesting is the old DF had no disadvantages over trade channel - it even had an advantage (there was no need to stay in town if you wanted to find a group), yet the playerbase strongly preferred trade.

That's because it was an opposing benefit. The LFG Tool allowed for much more focused grouping, and made it much easier to fold folks without dudes needing to fill up a chat channel with spam. Conversely, Trade and the old LFG channel let you search for groups for characters you're not currently playing; if you wanted to get in a dungeon on your main, you can play on your lowbie alt and look for people advertising for the dungeon you want to play.

That said, though, even by TBC I would make the argument that such a global chat system was too unwieldy to be all that effective at what it does. It MOST DEFINITELY would have been by Wrath. And to be honest, I sat in that channel a lot (and on other similar intent channels in other MMOs), and they're only ever truly used for just cross-world chat. While people may have differenting opinions on whether that was truly a problem, the fact is that it was barely being used for what it's intent claimed to be, and the game was growing to a point where it wouldn't be able to effectively do it's job ANYWAY.

And, because people are mistaking the issue, this is why they were making the comments they were about Trade chat; with so many people flooding it, it was being prevented from being used for what it was intended for, and that was pissing off the people who were trying to do actual trade. Not saying that I do or don't agree with people who didn't like the LFG tool (I found it to be quite useful, but not quite as good as Dungeon Finder ended up being), but the fact that they were preventing another group of players from doing what the tools given to them were meant to do is unacceptable.