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-   -   Question for Gozer and the Design-minded: How does a PuG become a group? (http://sto-forum.perfectworld.com/showthread.php?t=194106)

Archived Post 12-18-2010 01:41 PM

Question for Gozer and the Design-minded: How does a PuG become a group?
 
One thing that occurs to me about Infected is that Gozer has commented that STFs are not for PuGs. And I respect that. I enjoyed Heroics especially and some raiding in WoW. I loved STFs in City of Heroes (which were PuG content, really).

But most organized groups in games I played before formed one of a few ways:

1) Existing social group, generally mostly uber-casuals. This has been the majority of my experience in MMOs. It's why I played with comic book writers and artists and genre people in City of Heroes. It's why I joined my roommates' guild in WoW. This can be fun. This also makes it like pulling teeth to do many things as a group aside from leveling because the skill levels and interests are so varied.

Let me warn you off the bat: This means a rogue in cloth deciding he's a tank may be someone you group with. It also means Gail Simone will friggin' wipe your group non-stop because she thinks it's funny and if you aren't up for that, you're probably in the wrong group.

2) Mentorship. The standard model for a lot of people. This just plain doesn't work for me. It means scheduling. It also means if you decide to keep an erratic schedule, you'll want to do things when nobody else is on. It also means a lot of babysitting for very new players. It usually leads to lots of rules and regimentation and quotas for certain activities.

My favorite approach is option #3:

#3) Loosely organized groups. You discover someone doing what you're doing and you start doing that activity with them, semi-frequently. This generally requires a few things but mostly a puggable introductory content where you can meet strangers... and it can help to have open world or open instances where undirected activities happen.

You can do #1 or #2 in STO but I have no idea how #3 works. You're not going to happen to notice someone in combat or participating in an activity you aren't a part of. Moreover, there is no introductory puggable STF.

That is an issue, IMHO.

There needs to be, essentially, some form of STF tutorial, whether a nerfed Infected or new STF prior to Infected, that actually gets strangers doing these kinds of things together and acts as a group building hub.

Archived Post 12-18-2010 01:47 PM

IMO Fleets are there for people to play together regularly and improve their skills as a unit rather then as individuals. I don't think it's the STFs job to teach people to form Fleets and become better team players. Any other mission in the game can be used for PUGging; with the hope that PUGging eventualy leads to continued playing with the same people.

I do think they should tell you at the beginning of each STF mission that they're not designed for PUGs but rather for "dedicated teams" to do. Maybe that way people would have different expectations of what the STF is.

Archived Post 12-18-2010 01:55 PM

The only problem with the fleet missions is they are now going to be offering EXCLUSIVE CONTENT only acheivable if you have a social gaming group.

This is BAD as some of us can not get this gear. I PUG'd Infected the other day for 6 hours and we ended up with only 3 people. Could you possibly put more Borg in that? maybe a Cube or 2 in the space station to make sure no one has a chance?

If cryptic suppors exclusive STF gear then they need to reissue an exclusive upgraded to tier 6 Uber Galaxy to those of us who earned them through the referral program as the excuse for nerfing that was "no one should have access to exclusive content someone else can't earn" or some drek like that.

Make the STF's scalable to the number of players in the mission at the time. If someone bolts, cut the mobs back to compensate. Currently they are way too hard anyway.

Archived Post 12-18-2010 01:55 PM

personally if i had made them i would have had them start at level 10, then level 20 etc and make each one slightly harder to everybody can get used to them and at least experience the easier low level ones which would have been like normal eps, you just need 4 or 5 people to do it.

if not i would have made the ones we currently have easier and in keeping with the game and then added harder ones later.

i personally think the current set up is a waste but i am pleased it sounds like they are making normal and advanced versions that should be more in keeping with the game.

Archived Post 12-18-2010 01:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cosmic_One (Post 3233017)
IMO Fleets are there for people to play together regularly and improve their skills as a unit rather then as individuals. I don't think it's the STFs job to teach people to form Fleets and become better team players. Any other mission in the game can be used for PUGging; with the hope that PUGging eventualy leads to continued playing with the same people.

I do think they should tell you at the beginning of each STF mission that they're not designed for PUGs but rather for "dedicated teams" to do. Maybe that way people would have different expectations of what the STF is.

Many guilds do not form around endgame content in my experience and I find the idea of guilds to be a bad system that isn't organic to how people actually play games. In general, what I've seen is that guilds tend to either form policies which are irrelevant to their players' objectives or have no policies at all and basically act as a private chat channel. People tend to hop guilds to do the content they want to do and leave everyone else behind.

Take a game like WoW. Heroic Dungeons were inherently better for bringing players into endgame than guilds are.

In STO, my basic question is: why do STFs? They're just this weird little alternative gameplay style that gets dumped on you at endgame, for which there is no puggable precursor to make people consider doing them.

Grouping needs to be introduced to players before you require a skilled form of it. Otherwise, people won't group and they certainly won't do challenging group content.

Even in an MMO, you have to sell people on grouping and teach them to do it before you can reasonably expect skilled groups to form, aside from the people whose brains are just wired funny, that one of the four Bartle types that's social.

Archived Post 12-18-2010 02:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leviathan99
Many guilds do not form around endgame content in my experience and I find the idea of guilds to be a bad system that isn't organic to how people actually play games.

The point is you're not supposed to form them around end-game content. You're supposed to form them from PUGs you've established all the way back to your Lt ranks. These PUGs turn into Fleets. Fleetmates play together regularly for 50 levels and become used to each other. Those types of dedicated players are best suited for STFs. That doesn't mean you can't PUG STFs. It simply means the people you've been playing with since the beginning of your career are simply better at understanding your style and adapting to it then someone you just met 2 minutes ago.

Archived Post 12-18-2010 02:18 PM

My only STF dislike is the most painful assembly of team to do it. Usually I go there and I hear people shouting 2 more for this 1 more for that and when you finally get your team going someone leaves during mission and another one. Now you are half way done with your STF and one of you have to leave and ask others to join you.

Would be nice to have some kind of STF queue system, similar to PvP queue. Although I'm not much in favor of PvP queues that may in theory actually work for STF's.

Archived Post 12-18-2010 02:26 PM

This all goes back to the design that all the sectors and systems are separate instances. If they were to remove system instances then it would greatly help with teaming, since people that are flying around would see you doing a mission and would want to team up and such. You could keep the sector instances so that you can switch to another sector instance if the current one has a person or group doing a mission in the system, and you'd rather do it alone or with your own team. Then they could just divide each sector instance into 3 categories: easy, advanced and elite, and then you would just join the one with the difficulty you in which you wish to do the mission.

However redesigning all that is a heck of a lot of work, and time-consuming. Not to mention having to scale everything (planets, meteors, etc) as you enter a system (where as in the current system you just load the map in its proper scale already). It would basically be taking sector space further and making it all to scale.

As for the STFs they just need to set the current STF difficulty as a ''heroic'' or something similar, and then have the regular difficulty sliders in effect with better scaling. This would make the missions much more accessible since you can actually choose an easy mode if your team is meh, or a higher difficulty if your team is good.

Archived Post 12-18-2010 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thlaylie (Post 3233030)
The only problem with the fleet missions is they are now going to be offering EXCLUSIVE CONTENT only acheivable if you have a social gaming group.

This is BAD as some of us can not get this gear. I PUG'd Infected the other day for 6 hours and we ended up with only 3 people. Could you possibly put more Borg in that? maybe a Cube or 2 in the space station to make sure no one has a chance?

If cryptic suppors exclusive STF gear then they need to reissue an exclusive upgraded to tier 6 Uber Galaxy to those of us who earned them through the referral program as the excuse for nerfing that was "no one should have access to exclusive content someone else can't earn" or some drek like that.

Make the STF's scalable to the number of players in the mission at the time. If someone bolts, cut the mobs back to compensate. Currently they are way too hard anyway.

There is NOTHING at all exclusive about STF's other than the rewards they bring.

Archived Post 12-18-2010 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cosmic_One (Post 3233047)
The point is you're not supposed to form them around end-game content. You're supposed to form them from PUGs you've established all the way back to your Lt ranks. These PUGs turn into Fleets. Fleetmates play together regularly for 50 levels and become used to each other. Those types of dedicated players are best suited for STFs. That doesn't mean you can't PUG STFs. It simply means the people you've been playing with since the beginning of your career are simply better at understanding your style and adapting to it then someone you just met 2 minutes ago.

Why would anyone PuG in the Lt. ranks, though?


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