Guest Post: A Primer for Good Grouping

Yay, a blogger friend that also started during last year’s Newbie Blogger initiative has a guest post for us and he made it into a rant just for little ole me… I’m so proud.

C T (Christopher) Murphy is a self proclaimed master of geek culture, writing words of absolute brilliance and insight on games, books, and TV. Hmm, maybe not that God like but he has certainly produced some really intriguing pieces that critique and amuse. Sadly he hasn’t been writing as much anymore which really is a shame (hint hint Mr Murphy) but what he does is pure quality (unlike my dribble) and there are plenty of posts well worth going back over if you have the time.

Just take a peek at one rather fancy looking profile with all the links including google, twitter, Facebook and the blog. Also, pop over to the Geek Force Network where you can check out some of his more recent work, one of which even got me back into anime again.

A Primer on Effective Early Grouping in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

It’s that time again, boys and girls! Out of the abyss of nothingness (or in this particular case, out of a stillborn corpse not mourned by anyone), a new world has been born (reborn). With it comes new experiences (that you’ve had before), a new world with new people (that you’ve met before), and entirely new gameplay to sink your teeth into (which you’ve most assuredly played before). I have had an absolute blast in my brief time exploring the wilds of Eorzea in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, save for one exception: the grouping, in all its vanilla-classic MMO glory, has been utterly abysmal.

Don’t be a dick:

I am not sure if reaching max level in the original release of FFXIV makes you worthy of some veneration for your patience or if it is a complete indictment of your lack of taste, but I am sure that it has absolutely no bearing on an almost entirely different and far superior game. It is no excuse for you to lord your superiority over me or anyone else as unlucky as to be queuefucked ((the act of having your brief window of time in which you may be able to get an entire game/instance/match completed completely ruined by a typical internet jerk)). It’s a new game, people are going to play it like its new, and we don’t need a long, rude lecture on how you came to be in control of the entire universe. Unless you are in control of the entire universe, in which case, I am most sorry Lord Emperor Douchebagus.

In a similar vein, just because you have played World of Warcraft for the last six years does not make you an expert on the genre. It also doesn’t give you, again, the right to be a dick about things. I have been playing MMORPGs since I was 12. If anyone has the pedigree to be a hypercritical prick on the internet it is me. But do I? Only when I blog, not when it really matters inside the dungeon!

Case in point, last night I was running the game’s very first dungeon. Within two pulls, I noticed a slight issue: there is no focus fire. Somehow, my two DPS and my Healer are finding ways to kill the entire wave at the exact same time without any AOE (which sounds like it would take more coordination and cooperation than simply shooting whatever is low, but I digress).  Given that this is the first significant grouping experience of the game and the game is just releasing today, my patience with new players is fairly high. And unlike the early dungeons of Guild Wars 2, the A Realm Reborn’s first dungeon is very forgiving and requires very little skill to complete.

My healer wasn’t so patient. While I am tanking my heart out, he announces very proudly and with no hesitation, “hey assholes stop being newbs and focus targets”. When his sentiment turned into, “if u dont focus I wont heal u” our Lancer decided to bite back with this bit of wisdom: if u dont heal I will use potions. That might be a viable strategy if he didn’t immediately walk into a large group of mobs in the next room while the rest of our group was still finishing a pull. SIGH. The ensuing argument included a lot of ‘Go back to WoW’ and ‘I can out DPS you as a Healer’ and ‘u tryhard faggot’. The Lancer decided to just autofollow us through the rest of the instance without doing any DPS and the Healer mellowed out to congratulate me on the loot I managed to get.

One dick is a problem, but two dicks? Twice the problem! If you don’t want to play with someone then leave, not torture the other two especially nice people who only wanted to finish the run in peace. I did get my peace and quiet once we wiped: the Lancer refused to leave so the Healer left for him.  Oh well, I will run it again another day.

The actual primer:

Now that the most important piece of advice I can give you has been covered thoroughly, here are a few other bits of wisdom that haven’t changed since I started playing MMOs, especially not ones as safe as FFXIV:ARR.

    1. Attack what the other guy is attacking. FFXIV:ARR dungeon groups consist of one Tank, one Healer, and two DPS. In other words, assume the other DPSer is a moron and just follow his lead as if he is your Main Assist. Healer and Tank? Do whatever you need to do.
    2. Wait a few seconds before you roll your head across the keyboard. Look, I know you want a leg up on the currently non-existent DPS meters, but save your PUG Tank a heart attack and let him get a little aggro before you start spamming your burst.

Bonus Tip: if the Tank has never been in melee range of the mob you want to attack, don’t shoot it.

  1. Have Fun. It is depressing that, after my decade+ playing MMOs (or really any game on the internet), people still need a reminder to have fun. MMOs have only gotten easier to pick up and play since I started too. Fifteen minutes running a dungeon is not worth getting angry, no matter how egregious that Bard’s stat allocation. Relax or, if you must,  walk away when you start to heat up.
  2. It’s just a game, but please take it a little seriously. Cracking a joke or having to take a piss in the middle of a run is fine, but don’t leave the entire group hanging for ten minutes because your friend broke out the bong. Also, even when you are doing something for fun, that doesn’t mean you have to deliberately suck at it. Take some pride!

While I doubt I have changed hearts and minds, I can at least queue up for my next painful run with a clear conscience now that I’ve given the Internet a few friendly reminders on the absolute basics of MMO grouping. If you have any more rules to suggest or you just want to talk about a particularly egregious rule breaker, leave a comment below.

4 thoughts on “Guest Post: A Primer for Good Grouping

  1. I’ve actually had dome really good groups so far. A legacy player even went out if his way to provide an impromptu q&a session in an extremely friendly way while running the dungeon. Learnt heaps and made the dungeons more interesting. Even made a new friend out of it.
    I’m on the aussie server though and we are a friendlier bunch =p

    I admit to breaking rule 2 quite frequently though. I’m so not used to being a dps quite yet and that kill all the things urge takes over.

  2. Thanks for the opportunity to post something! Still no plans to come out of my current retirement, but you can still pimp my blog for me. Any guest posts I write will still be reblogged there.

    • Enjoyed the post, this pretty much counts for any MMO out there. And yes, two dicks in the same run… *groans*. Although one self-entitled dick who keep on telling everyone what to do (while they already know) can be annoying enough already. I agree, no dicks please!

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