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Group Size

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Hoss:
As a part of our game development we are taking a in-depth look into group size and how it effects the overall game in regards to creation and overall game balance. I wanted to layout a proposal of why we want to make some changes with group size, explain a proposed design we are thinking will fit in well and get some pointed feedback from the players.

We want to make changes to group size for a numerous reasons and have been monitoring group size for some time so that we had some data to support the change. One of the main factors is that we want to allow groups to do more with less. The current 10 man group limit forces creators to design based on having 10 of the most powerful characters available. From the last few wipes of group size data, this seems to limit a lot of players to be able to play content unless they are completely overpowered for it. This isn't a regime that we want to continue with, we would rather change things up and allow more players to enjoy more of the game without forcing everyone to have a 10 man group of legendary characters with low limit gear. Not to worry, we are planning on making changes to elite end game as well to keep that challenging.

The proposed design up for discussion is as follows: We would like to lower the group size to 5. This is based on a few factors; group size data and the idea of having 1 tank, 1 healer and 3 dps/utility to round out a group. One of the things we would like to do in the lube release is to rebalance a lot of the zones to this 5 man group size. This would be done dynamically (mostly) and allow creators to design to a known standard. It would also allow us to rebalance zones that are passed over do to the last 5 or so years of power-inflation. We still want to allow for 10 man groups, but we would like to have 5 the ideal man power needed to rock and roll.

Once a group grows in size from 6-10, certain restrictions would come into play. We are still kicking around ideas but what we have in mind so far are the following: Coins would no longer drop, experience would no longer be gained, rank points would not be earned.
We hope that a system like this would still allow a 10 man group to overpower a zone, but not gain the full reward. We understand that players want to group with their friends and not exclude that 6th person so we do not want to have the penalty be so harsh that grouping from 6-10 never occurs.

Another change would be what I have been calling 'elite zones'. These zones would be power scaled with a 10 man group in mind and be very challenging for any groups that enter them. Nothing is set in stone, but I did want to get some feedback going so that we have multiple views on the subject. I would like to ask you all the following questions.

1. Would having a 5 man group be acceptable if it was the norm?
2. Would you still group up with 6-10 if the penalty wasn't too harsh?
3. What other affects would you place on a 6-10 man group if any?

Jorquin:
1)  five is pretty small! but if it works well then thats all that matters
2)  yes, more usually = merrier (unless they're dipshits)
3)  lowered damage dealt, increased damage received

remi:
One problem I have seen with smaller groups from other muds I have played is when you limit groups to smaller sizes you get a few super elite groups running around and owning all kinds of content that other groups can't manage.

You could increase the drop rate if the group is smaller in size

ie....spells/gear, etc make it all load on death and if you have say

5 man group 40% to load
6 man group 35%
7 man group 30%
8 man group 25%
9 man group 15%
10 man group 5%

These are just randomly thought out numbers---and I know mages won't like the idea of no locate object spamming--but then people would do lots of zones based on the gear that loads in the zone and not what is loaded at current time.

Also you don't get completely screwed for having a larger group you just have a lower % chance to get gear/books etc to drop.

Just my 2 cents.

Mieren:
With the size of the playerbase, I think you should just set a max cap of 6 on group size and just scale all the zones down from there. Taking away the coins and xp/rank xp isn't that much of a setback. You still get the gear and spell drops. Keeping the max size at 10 still would keep the gear with the largest clans, whereas decreasing the overall group size would balance the field somewhat and allow more people to compete for gear, while rewarding the skill of the player.

reed23:
To really understand and answer this question, I would have to know about how legendary is going to change, if at all, next wipe.

The proposal is to make it so a 5 man can basically conquer most of arctic.  Is That Not Already The Case???  The post references 1 healer, 1 Tank, 3 DPS/Utility.  What % of arctic could a legend healer, legend barb, and 3 legend hitters take down currently?  If i had to guess, I would  say that that 5 man group could do 85-90% of the game and load tons of elite gear.  They could plow through most mid/upper level older zones (i.e. storms, ft, dko, sanction, cv, luni, bluff, spire, etc etc etc).  There are only a handful of fights that i am aware of that they probably could not do.

In my opinion, you immortals have already achieved what you are trying to accomplish - make the game playable for clans/groups of friends that don't always have a 10 man on.  You did this through legendary.

If I understand the proposed changes, zones would become "easier" to suit the 5 man change, but yet a 10 man could still go steamroll the zones.  So a 10 man would plow through zones even Easier/Quicker than they are now???

Finally, I agree 100% with Remi's post.  I can tell you what would happen with RISE clan.  People would be kicked out of the clan and an even more elitest attitude would happen.  That is sad, but I would anticipate be the case in most top-tier clans.  I think the current setup with legends allows a small group to have fun and do a ton of stuff in the game, but the current challenge in arctic is developing your clan so you have 10 qualified chars to do the final arctic fights.

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