[Rift] The Scatter of Shame

Melmoth over at KIASA analogizes the open-grouping system in Rift with some comedic situations. For as far as I have gone in Rift, I tend to disagree. I have yet to feel that my “personal” game space has been invaded. Yet, there is a personal downside. Let’s call it the scatter of shame. Going off Melmoth’s last situation involving his wife and many partners, there is another moment where everybody is finished with Melmoth’s wife and the party is over. People still have to run by Melmoth, scamper down the hallway, and jet out of Melmoth’s house. Everybody tries to do it without looking at each other (or Melmoth). No one seems to want to bond or mention that they just partied together and there may be other similar events going on elsewhere.

It’s like a race to see who can exit the raid the fastest. I still think this is another symptom of the solitary events. Perhaps if events fed into one another in a more elegant way, people would forge bonds more similarly to a dungeon crawl than a pity group to share a slow-spawning quest mob. It actually occurs in invasions as well because after a rift is closed half the raid might go one way, another quarter might decide to head to the main hub, and the rest decide to all go bio. They might forget to leave so when I finally hit the next event destination half of the raid has wasted space. It’s just easier to leave the public raid right away and rejoin close to the event.

Trion Worlds next grouping mechanic will be a way to form a group, but I really hope they start taking note of ways to keep a group together post-event. Then again this all might just belong in the personal preference bin. I’m not sure. System flaw or subjective flack?



22 thoughts on “[Rift] The Scatter of Shame”

  1. Obviously personal perspectives and attitudes affect how you view this quite a bit, however, I have to side with Melmoth on this issue, and in answer to your closing question; this is serious System Flaw… one which could develop into a fatal flaw if it is not addressed by the DEVs in a expedited fashion.

    Community is everything to a MMO… whether you like that fact or hate it makes no difference, it just IS. Every facet of gameplay or game mechanic has some effect (positive or negative) on the development of the game’s community on the whole. Everything I’ve been hearing (from this blog and others) on this issue of “open-grouping” has been trending toward a negative that folks are simply trying (for the time being) to overlook, but which will become more and more annoying over the course of time.

    One would think that simplifying the process of forming PUGs would actually lead to more social interaction, but the opposite seems to be true. Weird dynamic.

    If I were a Trion DEV this situation would have my full attention, and hopefully they are brainstorming a potential solution even as we speak. They will need to for the long-term health of the game.

    P.S. I thought the piece written by Melmoth was hillarious with a wonderfully quirky sense of humor…

  2. Hey Ravius what’s up? Is Rift worht anything at all? Do you think that it can push WoW from the top or this time will come when GW2 will release? I just want an opinion if is worth to buy it.

  3. “Going off Melmoth’s last situation involving his wife and many partners, there is another moment where everybody is finished with Melmoth’s wife and the party is over. ”


  4. It’s the impersonality of the Rift open group system that I like. It’s highly flexible and comfortable. I haven’t grouped this much in an MMO in more than five years and I’ve spoken to more in-game strangers in this last week than in the last year in other MMOs.

    Far from Trion having a problem here, I think they have a huge positive. It’s a great halfway-house between soloing and grouping, offering most of the benefits of each and few of the disadvantages. I’m willing to bet we’ll see this feature in more MMOs from now on.

  5. lol, I honestly took Mel’s post as a riff on anonymous grouping in general.

    Be it Rift, W:AoR, WoW…designers will continue to come up with solutions to provide those of us without guilds or friends a way to participate in dynamic group content.

    It does mean we invite strangers in our homes…I keep my wife locked up in the basement :)

  6. If this is worth picking on then clearly Trion has succeeded. Subjective flack all the way. Or more like a comedic aside on a system that works so well, the only thing to pick on is no one stays around for a group hug after the event is finished.

  7. This is exactly what I am thinking out loud in my head. I really hope Trion can see how precious this opportunity for random players to gather in a huge mass and having fun is, and if they can extend this exact moment where everyone is working together towards a single goal, to a full-fledge “adventure” – sort of like a rollercoaster ride where everyone can just hop on and have fun on the get-go, it will be GOLD.

  8. I actually like the anonymous grouping for public quests. I’ve been able to experiment with healing, without having to worry about getting kicked for being a “nub” or undergeared. I haven’t participated in any rift events at higher levels though, so can’t speak on that.

    Keep in mind the game is still quite new. It’s going to take a while to adjust things.

  9. This idea of a continuous group post-event, or through a chain of objectives within a zone-wide event, lingers on the quite dangerous assumption that individuals within the group will know where to go next and won’t scatter aimlessly going after the closest deposit/plant/piece of debris/artifact/quest objective they might have/random shiny.

    This is a skill that is seldom present in MMO players because we’re all about those targets of opportunity. By the time you got that artifact, mined that node next to it and fought the mob that aggroed you, your group is far away. Just today in my ad-hoc event raid in the Highlands I saw someone calling for the raid leader to cull stragglers. I look around and, sure enough, the raid is all over half the map already.

    Stable, 3+ days a week raiding groups have yet to master the arcane art of having everyone where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be. So I have no hope for this sort of “pug raiding” (which is all it is, really) to act like anything resembling a vaguely cohesive unit.

    If I were Trion I’d focus on making zone event objectives HUGE and CLEARLY MARKED on the map, instead of trying in vain to help these 15-minute-long raid groups maintain cohesion through measures that will ultimately fail. From my experience so far, having unclear objectives is only second to the natural scatterbrained nature of players as far as reasons for group dissolution go.

    That said, this soloist has no problem with Rift’s open grouping.

  10. I guess I’m too old-school, or carebear, or whatever the appropriate label is… I remember actually forming some of my most enjoyable, and longest lasting online friendships with folks who I happened across in-game just by chance… helped them, or they helped me with whatever we were attempting… recognized the general skills and compentancy of the other… struck up a conversation and went from there…

    My entrance into every single MMO guild I’ve been a member of basically started as I described above. Granted, often times those random encounters didn’t result in anything lasting beyond just that one encounter, but all too often a shared sense of humor, or appreaciation of the other’s gameplay ability resulted in being put on a “friends list” or something similar, and eventually to some of the most enjoyable group and raiding experiences.

    If no one in RIFT is bothering to so much as say, “hello” (which is exactly what I’ve been reading on multiple blogs) then those days of actually meeting folks online are over, and you’d better have RL friends who are interested in the same games you are, otherwise you’ll be completely missing out on any kind of significant social interaction in the game.

    I guess I’m too old to appreaciate the “positives” of the RIFT grouping system.

    P.S. Get off my lawn you damn kids!

  11. I find it hilarious that the majority of the complaints about Rift’s open grouping system (which I find a wonderful tool) seem to come from people who either don’t play the game or are themselves part of the problem.

    There’s definitely an element of the grade-school dance to puglic grouping – clumps of people sullenly standing around complaining to their friends sotto voce that there’s no actual dancing going on, but none of them with the courage to make the first move and actually invite somebody to dance…right up until the point that somebody breaks the ice, at which point the dance floor fills up in an instant.

    I’ve had plenty of fun, social, experiences grow out of puglic groups (hell, I met my current guild in one) once I got into the habit of making the first conversational move. Some of this may be because I play on an RP server, and some of it’s down to taking a moment to look at names – if I find myself grouped with xXxKilladethrougexXx I reach for the “Report Inappropriate Name” button rather than trying to strike up a conversation – but overall I find that once somebody opens the floodgates the conversation flows.

    So next time you find yourself spending the evening next to the wall, instead of going home and writing an angry blog post about how all members of the desired sex are awful and anti-social, try actually asking one for a dance.

      1. I have the same experience as the GP post, actually, I find that if you actually make an effort to improve the cohesiveness of the public group, it becomes more cohesive.

        PG with someone to kill a quest mob? Chances are you guys share a lot of the same quests. Quickly check your quest log and then mention it in chat.

        PG with a raid to do an event? Keep everyone together by placing map waypoints every time an event milestone is reached.

        I did both these things as I leveled and I met plenty of leveling buddies through PGs that way.

        So, you know, instead of silently being a wallflower and complaining about how nothing is happening, ask someone to dance and make something happen. Metaphor clearer now?

        1. Ah, I was confused because as far as I saw there was no “angry blog post.” I am just commenting on a phenomenon I am frequently seeing. I definitely agree that a little pro-activeness can change the entire social landscape, but it’s interesting to see how ready people are to insulate themselves after a PG event.

  12. Something else you gotta consider is how many people are actually participating in the zone event (or single rift sealing) versus how many people are just there because it happened to be a target of opportunity spawned in their vicinity as they were doing something else.

    If I’m questing and a rift pops up, sure I’ll hit join, help seal it, collect rewards. But that’s it. I’m not looking to form lasting bonds of anything. It was something in my way I helped close. That’s it. Bye.

    When you look at a raid, you don’t see this. You see a collection of named buttons representing other players and we automatically assume “we are all here for the same thing”. Hell no, we are not.

    1. Ding, I’m with Julian.! Less than half the time I’m intentionally rift hunting when I join a group, it was merely along the way and I’m not interested in lingering. I’m already doing something. I save the lingering for guild romps.

  13. At the risk of sounding like an ArenaNet fangurl:

    I said something similar on the Relics of Orr podcast we recorded on Sunday. It’s good that the public grouping is there, there would be bedlam if it wasn’t, but it really feels like it’s just a band-aid on a broken bone.

    I play RIFT and I can’t help but think of all the little annoyances that won’t be once GW2 is out.

    1. At the risk of being burned as a heretic, the key part of that is “(when) I play Rift”. When comparing a game that has shipped to a game that only exists as press releases, the latter inevitably looks better than the former.

      If all MMOs lived up to their advance press, people would be writing historical articles about the day Vanguard eclipsed WoW in sales, and speculating about whether WAR will be able to dethrone AoC as the game with the largest subscriber base…

  14. Isn’t a guild a more solid, social PG?

    I mean, if you are someone who finds the silent nature of random PGs poor, why are you not in an active guild that does things together and is social?

    And why are we expecting a random PG, that formed for as many reasons as there are members, to somehow resemble you and your four RL buddies playing an MMO together?

    Player issue, the system is fine.

  15. I do think this is a perspective problem. I personally find no issue or shame in leaving a Rift open group quickly, after the encounter which prompted the raid forming is over, and I wouldn’t feel hurt or upset if others did the same to me.

    To me, it’s part of the beauty of the open group system, that there is a flexible in-between point between going it alone (elites included, for the challenge of spec building something that can take on elites) and grouping up for dungeon-style challenges wherein there are gimmicky bosses and your group has to repeat raid-style until they learn how to work together or wipe repeatedly to the point of failure.

    It’s like a quick flash mob. Spontaneous group formation. Just at the point of pressure. And after that, dissolved just as elegantly, no obligations, until the next rift, wherein you form another one with whoever is geographically around and wants to join in. Or you can go your own way and not join in (this includes pairs and duos and trios who don’t want to join in).

    And I’ll have to agree that the onus lies on the people complaining about lack of sociability to take the first step.

    Because honestly, I’m introverted, I don’t like to talk much and I like my groups not too full of chatter. I do spontaneously wordless drive-by heals, just to be friendly, but those friendly gestures certainly do not imply intentions to turn it into a lifelong marriage commitment or for you to latch on and tell me all about your RL or for me to put aside my gaming plans in favor of going with your gaming plans. (Which, I often feel, are what the most vocal ‘social’ group-seeking people desire – a whole bunch of followers.)

    But if you say hi, I will certainly respond back in kind to be polite. And if you continue with some pleasantries or small talk, I will reply, and who knows, we may find we like each other enough to continue the aquaintanceship or develop it into friendship. Or we may just decide we’re not right for each other (for example, if the other party never even responds to ‘hi’) and stop ‘dating.’

    I do think it is an uphill incline for the social folks. The default position does seem to be that of a loner. At least with open groups, it encourages the loners to cooperate with each other for a time, instead of competing ALL the time.

    The only games which end up feeling very social without much effort are the games which essentially put so much pressure on creating social groups to succeed that it squeezes all the loners out of that game, and leaves it a smaller clique of social people. Devs, meanwhile, are looking at the $$$ that the loners might have paid also.

    In everything else, the social-seeking folks do have to bite the bullet, take the first step and create the connections they so desire first.

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