FFXIV has a shocking number of unskilled players. I don’t know a nicer way to say it. Graev and I have noticed a severe lack of understanding of MMO group mechanics from people we group with in dungeons. One dungeon in particular this evening had a caster DPS who would literally charge forward and start attacking anything he saw. That same group had a tank in level 15 gear at level 34 in a level 33+ dungeon. Some tanks don’t know how to pull aggro, or even understand they are tanks.
There are a few possible explanations.
One reason people might not understand how their class works, and why their gear sucks, is fate grinding. Leveling is incredibly easy when you roll across the map with a group mashing hotkeys and slaying monsters. The experience I gain in a week might take a fate grinder a day, but I gain a week of earning gear and learning my character and they get new abilities before they learn what their current ones do.
Final Fantasy is a single-player franchise
Aside from XI and XIV, Final Fantasy is a single-player franchise. Maybe people are used to being the solo hero who can run in and just do whatever he or she wants. I can’t blame them for not understanding the nuances of group play.
It’s obvious when someone is on a PS3 and not extremely comfortable with their controller. They move slower, their reactions are slower, and they can’t type. I have zero proof, but I think a lot of these sub-par group members are console gamers or at least people unfamiliar with MMOs. I mean no offense — Graev is a console gamer and he does fine (He screams at the TV calling them out). I think console gamers aren’t used to working in a team, or not having to care that one wrong move might wipe a group. It doesn’t even cross their mind.
Solving the issue isn’t simple, but there’s a really great feature in the game called Guildhests that might do the trick. Guildhests are like tutorial dungeons that place a group in a situation where they have to overcome mechanics commonly found in dungeons. There’s everything from DPS races to moving out of the fire. If they were harder, they might be a way of teaching some of these people the basics. Guildhests should absolutely be mandatory. The game should prohibit the use of the dungeon finder until you complete your level’s Guildhests.
That leads to my last point… I guess this is one of the big downsides to the dungeon finder. Normally I’d be able to evaluate how competent members of my group are before having to rely on their ability to perform their role. The dungeon finder skips all of that and randomly pairs people together. Gear checks could be implemented, but that’s just annoying. I think the dungeon finder works for FFXIV, so I wouldn’t want to see it done away with either.
I think the Guildhests are a start, but patience will be a requirement when grouping with players I don’t know. In the end, if someone is simply new to MMOs then I’m not upset. I’m only bothered when they make it to level 35 and still don’t know their class. Is that a failing of the game, or the player?