What do you like more, to play solo or to play as part of a group?

What do you like more, to play solo or to play as part of a group?

I haven't done one of these in a little while. Pantheon's Twitter account asked whether we like more, to play solo or play as a group. 

I feel inclined to point out that this does not mean one exists without the other, merely a personal inclination toward one. You could even say you prefer a 70-30 or 51-49 split. They aren't mutually exclusive.

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My personal tastes lean heavily toward grouping. Probably 90% grouping prefered.

I loved how people naturally drifted toward grouping in EverQuest. I like how UO/Darkfall/Sandboxy games encouraged communities of players to come together for survival. Most recently, my time in WoW (which has now gone on for over 6 months) has had its highs and lows -- the best times are spent playing with friends in dungeons, and the lows are having no one else log in and I'm forced to quest solo or find a group of people I don't know.

A game doesn't have to force one or the other, either. Sufficiently rewarding both activities works for me. I'm coming around to a more centrist position on the issue. Back in the 1999-2010 era I was very, very much about grouping and every game being a group-only game. Not so much these days.

  • I’m very much the opposite. Let’s say a 85% solo, 15% group split.

    There is only one sort of situation in which I would voluntarily seek out a group -and- enjoy myself, and that’s when I’m confident I can achieve the same thing or something similar solo.

    At that point, I’m open to seeking out a group for the social aspect and the variety of other people interaction, secure in the knowledge that if it goes bad, I can always succeed myself. Extra bonus if I can actually help others or carry them through with my ability.

    At all other times, there is usually some begrudging neutrality (a group is necessary for this open world meta event, but since it’s easy to jump in and jump out, oh, ok, I guess…) or kicking-and-screaming resentment mixed in.

    Forced grouping games and I mix like oil and water.

      • Sure. City of Heroes before they introduced Incarnate raids. Guild Wars 1 was about 80% of the way there, and eventually got there with a full Hero team.

        GW2 was about 80% of the way there at launch, before it started to reverse itself in the opposite direction with season 1, got terrible at HoT, did yet another reversal with PoF and has now thoroughly confused itself and its players.

        Lately, I’ve found Warframe ticks off a lot more of those boxes for me, being about 95% of the way there. I’ve been voluntarily grouping in Warframe to provoke bigger spawns so I can get more xp faster, knowing my frame and weapon can handle them just fine. Sometimes I get lucky and equally or more equipped souls come in and carry me, or we cover different directions teamwork style, sometimes I carry others and most importantly, they all feel good and don’t provoke rage or resentment.

  • 95% solo and 5% grouping, the latter if I find a public event interesting, or to fight a world boss.

    Even we I group it is likely a different type than the grouping experience you enjoy, as I don’t care to interact socially with members of the group, as such losing myself in a mega-group is far preferable to an intimate group of 10 or less.

    • As a person who wishes to play almost entirely solo, and dislikes grouping and interacting socially, do you think MMOs are the right type of game for you to play, or would you rather plan single-player or standard multiplayer games?

      • MMO’s certainly used to be well suited to hold my interest when I had time to play them.

        While I enjoy well done single player sandbox and RPG’s, it is difficult to make a world feel as alive as when live people are playing, albeit their behaviors can occasionally be immersion breaking.

        One of the greatest attractions to MMO’s is the ability to shift between PvE, group events, and PvP, the latter which also feeds my competitive urges when I am feeling more energetic. I love the RvR games, but I like to be the lone wolf type who instigates combat between turtling sides, and some of my favorite MMO experiences have been in PUG vs. PUG where one can feel an individual can make the greatest difference.

        The most significant detractor to today’s MMO’s is the ease and rapidity of leveling and resource collection. In vanilla WoW people used to proudly post having collected their 1st gold pieces, but the last time I played during a free trial content was effortless, designed to be rapidly burnt through, which made me aware of the hours passing while I distractedly clicked here and there.

        In short, the sense of achievement through overcoming challenges that I had felt in real time was no longer there, but I suppose to others they would think of it as an unnecessarily prolonged grind to cap.

        I think it is a switch of game design focus from catering to players with long-term to short-term attention spans, and reaching a greater audience through increased accessibility, which only serves to bore me.

        While I think players’ needs might be best served by trying to not cater to all interests, most MMO’s I have played try to be ultimate themeparks, and at least in that context I think it might be a mistake to assume that MMO’s shouldn’t appeal to those who the social aspect is not paramount.

      • One might be able to gain better insight into what were commenter’s most and least favorite MMO’s and why.

        My most favorite was Tabula Rasa even given it’s incomplete and occasionally broken state. I never quite have felt the same rush of repelling alien attacks, with frenetic killing streaks turning my screen progressively redder, and the music and damage meters increasing as more mob were destroyed (balancing of course staying alive during the blood feast).

        My least was Age of Conan simple because the gangs of PKers that roamed unchecked even the RP servers. So much of the individual player experience was spent trying to run away from spawn sites that were continually camped, and of course the rage-quit frustration of being attacked while locked in a NPC convo screen, …plus they didn’t fix the Necro for as long as I played.

        Now granted I haven’t played a true MMO since GW2 which I found to be somewhat entertaining, especially due to the area public events.

      • Of course if one includes my PUG time as grouping time, which makes sense given the “G”, then I suppose my grouping percent increases, but PUG’s are pretty much the least social of the types of grouping, or at least they are most accommodating to people who don’t care to socialize in groups.

  • The very question, “What do you like more, to play solo or to play as part of a group?” is archaic. In most modern MMO(RPG)s “solo” and “group” are just points on a curve.

    I like having the freedom to engage in interesting and enjoyable activities without having to jump virtual hurdles to do it. I like systems and mechanics that are capable of recognizing who is present in the gamespace and altering the activities available so that they provide good entertainment for however many or few players happen to have turned up.

    I think “solo” and “group” are terms from the past and we should leave them there.

    • I dislike hurdles than stant between me and fun as well. But I also enjoy a challenge, and I think allowing people to team up with others in an online game through group-based activities to beat challenges, designed for people working together, isn’t inherently bad. They just need to also develop equally rewarding (doesn’t have to be the same rewards) activities for people who prefer to approach or more organically, or solo.

  • I am also under leaning more solo than group, group.

    Many of the reasons Jeromai and others already listed I agree. I keep playing MMO(RPG) style games because I love the openness of the world, dynamic events and the ability to join with friends when I can.

    Due to my work/travel schedule, I don’t get to play with friends as often as I would like. Playing the same game allows me to have that water cooler conversation virtually in Discord or Slack.

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