I’ve been contemplating giving the group finder in Rift a go for the last few sessions, there’s an instance that bridges story-wise the pre-expansion event and the expansion itself.
Last night I did queue for it using the dungeon finder, which I have to date never used – when I did my grouping in Rift near launch it was with guilds and with ‘chat spam’ pugs.
It wasn’t a good experience, in part due to my shock at a long forgotten side to MMOs. I haven’t pugged since soon after Cataclysm’s launch in 2010. It was a pretty dire experience then, and from my vicarious observations of my partner playing in LFR I would say it hasn’t improved much, Blizzard have just ‘adapted’ the raids to be possible if a third of the group AFK or do completely the wrong thing.
Rift has a smaller community overall, and the server I’m on (Argent EU) seems friendly and good natured. So I was looking forward to playing perhaps with some of the names I’ve seen in so many public events. Sadly of course the dungeon finder in Rift is now cross server, I had missed this development during my absence from the game. I was met with four players from other servers, none from Argent. Cue the usual WoW-style pug – tank buffs and runs into the nearest group of enemies while I (as healer) am still buffing up. I didn’t even have time to type in “never done this before sorry if I miss anything” or the like. I dropped group to save myself from the depressing silent efficiency of such groups, there was no “hello” in party just a “healer heal more” since they’d taken a scratch while I was getting oriented.
It reminded me that there is a majority of MMO players now who are used to, even conditioned to play this way. Thankfully in the open world side of Rift on Argent people are generally moderately chatty, communicative and friendly. I’ll stick to leveling through story quests, instant adventures and invasions for now.