MMORPG Group Etiquette

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Playing WoW a lot lately has given me significant exposure to a range of player behaviors. From lazy to go-getter, epeen to carefree, jerk to kind soul. They’re all present and obvious to me in WoW.

This question bounced around social media, and I needed more room to respond. So here goes.

MMORPG Etiquette – What are some of your make or break etiquette rules for grouping up in a social game – Bonus – What are some etiquette rules you feel OK breaking within a group or social situation in an MMORPG?

I want to focus my response on a rather narrow scope. I think general good behavior is generally a given. Assuming people generally behave in the same way they would in a professional environment, let’s move on to social norms and other etiquette.

One of my big rules lately is commitment. If you say you’ll do something, please do it. If you’ll show up at a certain time, or commit to helping a group, or you join to accomplish a task… please do it. Don’t ditch the group because something better came along — at least not until you accomplish a good part of what you joined that group to do.

Respecting class roles is another etiquette for me. This isn’t a WoW issue at all since it’s so homogenized, but in past MMOs I was really bothered when people didn’t play their class role. If your class is a healer, and you join a group that expects you to heal — and invited you on that pretense — then please heal.

When I saw this question, the biggest thing that came to mind was respecting other groups. This is big in games like EQ. If a group claims a room, don’t steal that group’s spot. Don’t steal their mobs. Respect grouping boundaries. Don’t bring in higher level friends to claim an entire dungeon to power level you. Respect that people have formed up, cleared to the spot, and done their best to hold it.

Really the only rule I’d feel comfortable breaking would be one where the people around me have already broken that rule or created an environment that I consider unplayable. I’ve left groups prematurely when they’re behaving so inappropriately that it violates my personal standards. I’ve left groups where the healer won’t heal, or the tank wants to DPS. I’ve left groups that are stealing other people’s mobs or having their mobs stolen.

The most important part about etiquette is making sure everyone else has agreed upon the expectations. If it’s a loot thing where you’re going to need or greed on all drops, express that before someone joins. If the expectation is for everyone to stay for an hour at least, then express that before you invite them so that they can agree upon that beforehand. Communication would likely solve most problems.

  • My recent experience of grouping etiquette comes mostly from Elder Scrolls Online, which has instance queuing based on the players role in the group – Healer, Tank or DPS with each group having 1 tank, 1 healer and 2 dps. I play mostly PUGs and Ive seen a sharp rise recently in the number of DPS player queuing as Tanks or Healers just because the queues are shorter, obviously ignoring the fact they queued for a role they cant carry out.

    Fortunately ESOs grouping system is robust enough that its easy to kick them and find someone else but I can imagine how frustrating something like that would be if that wasn’t the case.

    • When BFA was newer last month, I had a huge problem with DPS queuing as tanks. They were clearly not a tank. They didn’t know how to tank, and they didn’t have the gear to do it. They simply queued as a tank because it was faster. Can still kick them in WoW, but then you’d be back into a queue waiting for 30 min to get a new one. Hah.

  • Yeah, I can’t even imagine queueing for a role you aren’t willing or able to do. It’s weird, because I don’t even consider that an explicit rule in my mind, it’s so fundamental it literally goes without saying. Queueing for the wrong role for a faster queue is such an abomination that it immediately marks you as an asshole of such an order than you surrender your claim to be treated decently. All bets are off, you should be removed, you should be bad mouthed among anyone that might matter, you should have whatever the highest social punishment exists.

    I suppose if you didn’t know better you should just be scolded and taught better, but I have a hard time imagining someone getting so mixed up they thought it was acceptable to queue as a tank or healer as a non-tank or healer.