Story and coop gameplay

The only downside I’m finding to playing FFXIV at the moment is the volume of solo-only instanced content in the main scenario quests. It’s a very common problem in MMORPGs, developers seem to think we should be forced to do story-heavy missions on our own. To be honest if I want to play with friends why should it matter if it’s a bit easier?

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Time to stand and wait…

It’s particularly irksome that this includes not using your Chocobo companion and that the game punishes you for having one out if you are running main scenario quests – any remaining minutes on the food buff used to summon it are lost if you put it away to do such a quest!

Not every main scenario quest is solo though, there are ‘purple area’ quests which summon the encounter in the open world, albeit locked to your group. This uses the same tech as the Guildleve system – you can only attack leve-spawned monsters if you are grouped with the initiator. So if the tech exists why do so many missions as solo instances?

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Lending some muscle on a scenario quest

 

It’s the inconsistency that really irks me; not that some things are solo in the game. I have exactly the same problem with mission design in The Secret World since the game does small group play very well in most cases, but then has pure-solo missions that break that flow. Star Wars the Old Republic was possibly the best supporter of group play, even in the class story missions, although I’ve read recent blog entries by Shintar that seem to hint that the newer content is not so supportive of coop gameplay.

I just wish MMORPG developers would put more thought into letting people play with their friends as a priority, it’s the obvious social mode to include!

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2 Responses to Story and coop gameplay

  1. Sylow says:

    Strange. I found that SWtoR punished group-play (more than two players) even more than many other games. After all, mobs get exponentionally harder in story instances, the more people you have in group, but if you have more than two playes, you have to leave your pets (called companions) at home.

    On TSW, the problem indeed still exists, but with recent changes was much lessened. A number of instances which were solo at launch were opened to groups since then, and the difficulty of combat was decreased significally with the new player experience, too.

    There still is a number of solo instances, but i only remember two where combat matters. (The Ak’ab cave at Savage Coast and the last mission of the Tyler Freeborn storyline. ) I have no idea at all why the Ak’ab cave still was not changed to be done in group and think that it really should be fixed. On the Tyler Freeborn mission, it is a nightmare dream sequence and it really makes sense to be solo. (In contrast, you also have a dream sequence in Issue 10, which you can actually enter in group. I would’ve prefered that one to be solo, but since all new content is made as group-friendly as possible, i guess this has to be accepted. )

    On any other solo instances which i remember to still be around, i doubt that they’ll ever be changed any more. Dream sequences, personal progression and missions where you make decissions for your character just make sense to be solo. And some still existing solo infiltration missions just have the high potential to be even more frustrating in group than solo. (There are videos online of people getting through infiltration missions without ever fully understanding the traps. They just sometimes pass them by dumb luck. Now imagine two people in there, not understanding the trap. Even if one passes it by dumb luck, the other one is guaranteed to wipe them again, for even higher frustration. )

    But i fully agree on your basic sentiment: making missions solo for the sake of them being hard makes absolutely no sense in a MMO and should very much be avoided.

  2. LovableZoe says:

    I completely agree with this when it comes to FFXIV: ARR. My biggest gripe is the Chocobo part. I would have to do some heavy back searching, but I remember in one of the interviews Yoshi-P did on the expansion is that they are going to fix having your chocobo out and queuing for dungeons. I don’t know if that’s something that is going to come out directly with the expansion or something they are working on. I do really hope they fix that. Plus I love group questing. If they could make it were you could solo it if you wanted, but if you wanted to bring along a friend you could, I would be in heaven!
    Cheers! ❤

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