Bioware is calling there group zones/instances Flashpoints. One of the first thing stand out is that Bioware is bring the number of player in a group down to 4. Back in day EQ and all the MMO’s of the era had 6 person groups. Wow broke that tradition and went with 5 (and so all the other MMO’s of that era went with 5). Now Bioware is bring the number down to 4. On top of that your companions count, so you could theoretically do a flashpoint with 2 people (and 2 companions) .
Two conflicting thought hit my mind when i found this out.
- There trying to take the “Massively Multiplayer” part out of their MMO
- MMO’s are at their core are social games. They have historically required you to meet people and strive for a goal, to advance your character. By bring the group count down to 4 and allowing companions, group zone can pretty much be down with 2 people. Assuming the AI works well enough. This take out a lot of the social interaction and friendship that used to from in MMO’s. I still have friends that i talk to on a daily bases that i met in Everquest 1 (on kane bayle as ogrebears) way back in the day. I look at the modern MMO’s i play today WoW, Rift. None of these game has resulted in a friendship (or me even caring) about the other people outside of the game. And i think that apparent when you look at the world chat for games like EQ compared to WoW. EQ since the game revolved around social interaction you didn’t have a whole lot of name calling or immature peope in the world chats, because they would get a bad rep and no one would want to play with them again. WoW on the other hand wold chat is something you tend to turn off pretty quickly, unless you enjoy people putting each other down. I’m rambling now. Pretty much the more you take social interaction out of the game, the more anonymous people feel, and end up being jerks to other players.
- There taking the suck out of grouping
- BUT… on the other hand I think Bioware is has spent a long time looking at group dynamic and have made this the best way to get the suck out of groups. Lets be honest, your 1/2 way through a dungeon and a the tank or healer LD’s, rage quits or has to go to a raid… you end up either spending 20 minutes trying to find a replacement or disbanding the group. Now you at least have a backup plan. You can use one of your companions as the healer/tank/dps while you look for that 4th player. Or for those of you who want to play with just your significant other now you can.
- I think it also make group zone more balanced. With 4 players you know the typical set up will be 1 tank, 1 healer 2 DPS. Because you have 1 less player than in Wow (or 2 compared to Everquest). The DPS, skill of your best players and your worst player is smaller, which i believe mean you can make more challenging content. It also prevents the problem Everquest had were some classes for the hardest content were pointless. For instance if you wanted to take on the hardest raid bosses has a healer you had to be a priest, you wanted to tank a raid boss you had to be a warrior. The other healer and tank classes would have little chance of ever matching them.
In the end i think taking the suck out of grouping is more important than the lost social interaction. Because at the end of the day most player are going to guild up with other players. The best group will still be 4 real human players. This opens up new possibilities for everyone.
So far Bioware has released a few of the Flashpoint. I find have a feeling Bioware will make Empire and Republic only flashpoint all the way to the end game (resulting in a lot of players leveling up 2 characters all the way up to 50). http://www.swtor.com/info/systems/flashpoints
The Esseles — Early Game Republic Only
When a Republic transport secretly carrying a high-profile passenger is attacked by Imperials, your team must defend the ship and eventually must decide the passenger’s fate.
The Black Talon — Early Game Empire Only
The captain of an Imperial transport refuses official orders to intercept a Republic transport, and your team must seize control of the transport and carry out the mission. Will you kill or spare the captain?
Taral V — Mid game Republic Only
Imperials are holding a Jedi prisoner who is critical to the Republic war effort. Your team must travel deep into enemy territory to recover the key to liberating this Republic hero.
Boarding Party — Mid game Empire Only
When a high-level Republic prisoner escapes from an Imperial prison, your team must track down the target and prevent an audacious attack to destroy the Sith Empire.
Mutinous droids on a remote moon develop a technology that could lead to massive destruction for both the Republic and the Empire. Your team must shut down the rebellion before it’s too late.