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Posts with tag singleplayer

Defeating the anxiety of running your first instance

One of my favorite WoW blogs, HoTs and DoTs, has a great post up about Dungeon Groups 101 -- the very basics of running instances. You may think that there's nothing more basic to the game than getting in an instance with four people and taking down a few bosses and trash, but you'd be surprised. Even in a social game like this, one of the first hurdles newbies have to deal with is joining a group to play together. They worry that they'll do things wrong and that other people will make fun of what they're wearing or playing, and that worry keeps them from enjoying my absolute favorite part of the game.

Cassandri's writeup is an excellent read for anyone who feels that way (and feel free to pass on this post to any friends or relatives you know who've been too leery to join an instance yet). She does do some basic knowledge stuff in there, just hints on the classes and what they can all do -- and our WoW Rookie posts will help out with that stuff too -- but more importantly, she says what lots of new players need to hear: that messing up in an instance isn't that big a deal, and that playing together with others (which is the reason why we're all playing an MMO rather than a single player game in the first place) is more than worth getting past any anxiety around joining a group. I've read a lot of comments like the one Cassandri quotes in her post, too, and I'm here to tell you: if you haven't run an instance yet, it's time to stop worrying about what it'll be like and give it a try.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Instances, Bosses

It takes two to duo content

Spinksville has a great post up about the great benefits and joy of duoing in MMOs, or playing alongside one other person as you level your way up. I haven't been able to duo in a while, but I have done one character with a good friend -- he played a Priest and I tanked on my Warrior, and we shot up through to max level (even before the leveling changes) just because not only did our characters compliment each other, but we knew each others' play styles and were able to take on lots of big mobs and quests without a problem. I agree with Spinks: playing the game alongside someone you know well is the perfect mix of a singleplayer and MMO game.

There are certainly issues -- if one of you plays more than the other and pulls ahead or falls behind, it's not quite as fun for either of you. But especially if you're both playing alts and you've got good, regular amounts of time to play together, it can be really fun. In fact, it's kind of surprising that Blizzard and other MMO companies haven't gone in for more of the very-small group play -- singleplayer instances got a pass, but then again, phasing has changed things since then, and the LFG system has improved, so maybe it's time for Blizzard to put some two-player content in the mix.

It would definitely be great to see some official support for two-player content -- not everyone has a partner to play with all the time, but I think you'll find way more two-player groups in the game than you will find full raids of 25 people, and that group certainly gets their share of things to do. Spinks makes some great suggestions about duo content, and it's definitely a realm of gameplay that a lot of MMOs haven't yet officially explored.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Quests, Raiding, Bosses

Rob Pardo talks about how WoW gets developed

Rob Pardo sat down to chat with PC Gamer recently about all things Blizzard, but as you might expect, WoW got a nice chunk of the conversation. He talks mostly about design -- after saying that PC gaming isn't dead (duh), he talks about the lore of a dungeon, and says that whenever you step into an instance, even if you haven't researched all the lore of it, and read all the quests for it, Blizzard wants you to know that the story is there.

He also talks a little bit about how Blizzard works as a team -- everyone working on the game has the power to veto something if they don't feel it works right, which is probably why we haven't seen things like player housing yet. It also explains why Blizzard takes their time -- when anyone can step in and say, "This isn't working" at any time, you get a lot of iterating and a lot of unreleased content. But as Pardo says, it pushes the whole team to do it better -- he can go to the people he'll know will have a problem with a certain mechanic and work with them to make it right.

Finally, they chat a little bit about whether, as Raph Koster is quoted, "the singleplayer game is an aberration." Pardo calls out Super Mario Galaxy's co-star mode as an example of a terrific singleplayer game that incorporates multiplayer in an innovative way, and says that singleplayer isn't gone forever -- it's just going to look a little different.

[via WorldofWar]

Filed under: Blizzard, Instances, Expansions, Lore, Hardware

Instances are for groups, silly solo player

We've mentioned solo instances before -- just like more midlevel content, Heroic versions of old world instances, and player housing, they seem to be the kind of content that players seem really interested in, but Blizzard isn't all that excited about implementing. And now they've come up again on the forums, and once again Bornakk has given a few good reasons why it just wouldn't work for the game Blizzard is making.

Tremallyn of Shu'halo is actually asking for scalable instances -- he says that if 10 and 25man groups are going to be playing the same instances in Northrend, why not scale those down to five man and even solo versions, so all players can get a chance to see the content? Bornakk replies that the rest of the game already is solo content, and that they want the endgame dungeons to be more exclusive. We've heard other good reasons before -- to tune an instance for every class, with all of their varied strengths and weaknesses, would require Blizzard to water down the instance so much that it wouldn't be nearly as dynamic an experience as you can have with a minimum 10 people in the party.

Not that it's impossible -- other games (I know of one in particular) have scalable instances, some of which are even tuned for one player. But at the same time, we play MMO games for a reason -- if you really just wanted to play a great single player experience, there are a wealth of single player games to choose from out there. And if you really want to do an instance solo, you could always just wait 10 levels and do it solo anyway.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

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