What is the ideal MMO group size? I’ve been giving raids a lot of thought lately, but the most enjoyment I get out of MMOs comes from a really good group. I was talking to Graev tonight, and we both prefer groups in the 6-8 member range.
More Group Variety
Having 6-8 members of a group means that every spot isn’t met with the same scrutiny as a group having to truly choose how to fill only five slots. Larger groups can take a support class, more DPS and less heals, or more heals and less DPS. Group balance becomes an art, and customizable.
When groups are larger, classes can be more unique. I’m a fan of specialization, and I really hate homogenization. I want to see every position in a group filled by someone bringing entirely unique skills. Fewer slots in a group means that classes have to begin filling more roles.
To go against what I just said, larger groups also allow hybrids to shine. In LotRO I played a Captain, and a group of six had that extra spot to let me be that class who made all the other members of the group perform better.
How many MMOs these days recruit a class to be the puller, or the buffer, or the debuffer?
Dungeon and Content Challenges
Groups were subjected to rigorous challenges, and often impossible odds when group sizes were larger. This makes sense, though. A group of 6-8 people is right between enough to increase the challenge, and few enough to prevent zerg mechanics. Content can still be difficult with fewer people, but overcoming that challenge is extremely different when there are fewer players — this goes back to having less to go on because of group variety being narrow.
I remember the holy trinity used to be Tank, Heals, and Crowd-control. I don’t know if this can be backed by anything other than my observation, but the smaller groups have been simplified to emphasize DPS over control.
I like off-healers and backup healers. I like off-tanks and contingency plans. I like room for error and having the ability to adapt. The flexibility and options come more naturally to a larger group of players.