Author Topic: Group Size  (Read 31478 times)

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Group Size
« on: February 13, 2014, 08:33:11 PM »
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?


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2014, 08:44:38 PM »
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


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2014, 08:47:20 PM »
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.


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2014, 08:50:56 PM »
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.


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2014, 10:53:10 PM »
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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Re: Group Size
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2014, 11:48:20 PM »
> 2. Would you still group up with 6-10 if the penalty wasn't too harsh?

I would try to avoid it if penalties affect drive/fun from the game (when every good stuff you know is loaded (and deeprented), it's often rank and cash all you get)

> 3. What other affects would you place on a 6-10 man group if any?

That would be probably not quite easy to implement, but, more aggressive AI, i.e. bashing up to every round, use specs, skills, spells more often in general. Especially area hits. It won't allow to overpower the zone though.

Some continuous flag set to players grouping more than 5, maybe lasting even after leaving group.

Make % of items loaded zap everyone. Except quest ones (or not?) That one would lead to some butthurt. It's almost the same as to lower item load rate but funnier + knowledge that that particular item is loading.

>I can tell you what would happen with RISE clan.
like if anyone cares

>The proposal is to make it so a 5 LEGEND man can basically conquer most of arctic.
Not a bad proposal still

If drop exp/rank, shouldn't the group leader still receive it? One often thinks about how easy is to be legend being a dumb assister in the same time, but that's another question.
On the other hand, in large group, especially if you are not in the leader's clan, all you get is ranks/exp, and without it there would be little sense to zone.


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2014, 11:54:00 PM »
This is a really big issue and you hit on a lot of topics in it Boss man. so editing down your original post so i can throw out some thoughts.

One of the main factors is that we want to allow groups to do more with less. ... 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. ... but we would like to have 5 the ideal man power needed to rock and roll.

[a lot of your post truncated]

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?

1) a 5 man is the norm for smaller clans. 5 mans are quite often the norm for bigger and smaller clans, bot groups -- the only groups that don't run the "average" zone with 5 or 6 are simply not fodder-filled and/or bot-master groups.  So to complicate the issue here is my big question:

does the game have enough good leaders to really break down the groupsize to 5 as a semi-unwritten rule?  I know if i'm bored of doing stuff I can lead I tend to try to get one of those slots 6-10 in another neutral clan's groups.  This change probably is a non incentive to include anyone who wouldn't be a prime pick for a zone, which might be a great change for certain clans that don't outsource their members, but i don't think it fosters anything other than more cliques.

The playerbase rather self-regulates group size (smaller groups are more nimble, easier to watch over without advanced scripts/triggers/etc) and people tend to have more fun in smaller groups.

So I'ld just say simply that #2 really is a touchy subject.

What affects i'ld place on a 6-10 man is that no lim 3 or under can load and spell loads are cut by 50%  Simply put that would extend the wipe "rush" and make for a really interesting wipe.  But that might be really out of favor with the general playerbase.


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2014, 02:12:28 AM »

atm 6 or 7 well equiped legendaries can kill anything. i dont think that you need to reduce group size.
1. if you set group size 5 in hard fights if healer CCed = wipe
2. small group size will "disable" some classes from grouping, setups will be like barb/pala basher cleric mage thief/mtn/sky but mostly thief due to pick
3. penalties on group size of 10 will make ppl avoid grouping in large groups and most of zones will be done at all times, i want to group with my friends

where is challenge in all this? Just hit 30 -> kill all
i remember BIGGGGG groups now 10ish or less, in future? solo cyan?

In my opinion

leave max group size as it is
if you want groups do more with less then add more good/useful items, increase limit on lim items.
buff groups through equipment and make them available to all ppl. keep some elite elite items lim on 1 or 2
that way smaller groups will able to acquire better equipment then move to a harder zone for better equipment and so on.
Give a reason to ppl to explore all zones. Challenging! After all this is a multiplayer game, group of 5 is like a LAN game

i see hundreds of different items useless that dont even worth to sell to a shop. make them useful or remove them and add cash to that mob. i prefer the idea of making most items useful.

this is a drop ... 1 among hundreds

Item Type: ARMOR       
 Mat Class: wood         Material: pine
 Weight   : 5            Value   : 3

 Apply    : 4

Why?!?? you want to fill floors?
i believe you can use as a tool what posted on "Stats -- Next Wipe" buffing items and solve the problem
I like the big range of items exists all players wont look the same, so dont really remove them just make them useful "force" a 10 lvl player go look for those items, also a 20lvl and so on 

an example (random numbers or bonuses)
crap items +1-2 stat bonus
avg items +3-5 stat bonus
good items +5-10 stat bonus
elite/lim items +8-10 stat bonus and something special
i read that you plan to remove legendaries. just note that non-legendary shamans and druids are support healers not healers
and some other classes are almost useless without legendary status, u plan to remove legendary status and add perks to normal status?
You trying to scale down difficulty and then removing legendaries so after some time you will need scale down dificulty again because 5 man groups wont be able to do more again, and all that time half MUD remains unexplored because it doesnt even worth to be explored it and all that time some classes wont able to find a group because there are better replacements
do i miss something here?


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2014, 02:14:02 AM »
1. Yes, definitely. As someone who has a lot of free time outside of the traditional 'peak' times (living in Australia), I feel this would give the off-peak player base more to do.
2. Yep, as long as you don't adjust the EQ / Spell loads (or mess with the % chance)
3. Reduce the damage output of the group above 5 in PvP (though not sure how realistic this would be to implement). I like the idea of 5v5 pk battles. Would make things much more interesting.

I also like the idea of 'elite' zones that would require a strong 10 Legendary group.


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2014, 02:42:13 AM »
1) Make 5 man the baseline
2) This is the never want to make it so ppl are not getting grouped cause the group is getting penalized.  I'd say just a subtle change to offset the extra groupies.
3) Slight damage increase for each groupie >5

If the goal is to do more with less/make more content accessible then make more classes able to main tank/heal.  Instead of thinking "well we can't do that zone cause we don't have a barb/healer" it should be "well its a little rough without a barb/healer but we can manage". 

Elite zones are pretty cool and should have most of the limit gear.


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2014, 02:44:39 AM »
I don't like the proposed penalty to groups larger than 5 or 6. I think it should just be a hard limit.

People zone primarily for gear, spells, and ranks.

The best metric for zoning effectiveness is a rate gear/time, spells/time, ranks/time.

If you take mild punishment (coins/xp) for increased speed, nobody is going to change play style. Most players are too time constrained. Zones, once known, should be done fastest and most effectively at or below the group limit. Otherwise there is no incentive to stay small.


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2014, 03:16:11 AM »
Some random ramblings:
* Assuming your 5 legendaries can do 90% of the zones/fights known in existence.  The question is, how about players who are casual and cannot reach legendary by themselves?  Or just players who don't have the time or zone knowledge of the elites, how can they rank effectively to reach legendary status?
* Instead of putting penalties on ranks/xp/coins if over a certain # in group, why not put bonuses instead of penalties?  Putting penalties just makes the game harder for casual player.
* A good point is in 5 man groups when the healer is stunned (in hard mobs/fights) its a wipe.  Can you imagine a 5 man non elite/average joe group doing void beast?
* Since we're already having a review of all the items, I'd like to point the big elephant in the room, namely item decays.  Doesn't anyone find it annoying to have someone pop a limit 1 item, deeprent it for 5 weeks, log in on week 5.1, destroy the item and repop it and rinse repeat?  There has to be a better way to have low limit items more accessible to the people that actually log on more than have these items deeprented for the whole wipe.


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2014, 03:36:17 AM »
1. I enjoy a 5 man group more. The group seems better in tune and you never feel like the guy brought along just for fodder.
2.The penalty is a good idea as long as zones built for 10 man groups didn't have a penalty in place. 
3. I would just cut the spell loads to 25% and gear less than limit 3 (like limit 1 gear)would not load.still have the xp/ranks in place. Don't they get split in a big group anyway? (not sarcasm) All of these penalties should only be in place if the 10 man goes into a zone they are too big for.



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Re: Group Size
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2014, 04:47:14 AM »
instead of going through every zone and redoing it to suit 5man groups, wouldnt increasing a zone to legendary status be quicker?
surely buffing zones like shoal, silvi, pax, sleet,etc would be easier and quicker to suit a 10man legendary group.. also readding skullcap???

players seem to go thru ebbs and flows with logging already.. so reducing groups to 5 will probably make a lot of people quit.. i know i dont have the patience anymore to sit in a zone for 3hours to figure out hidden kws or paths... i enjoy being a useless assist spammer or whatever.. you will make clans reduce sizes (which isnt necessarily a bad thing) to a about 12 of their best players/ppl who can log a lot..

if this group size limit does come into play...
making a penalty for a group that goes over 5 would be harsh anyway.. clans already spam zones cause of horrible % loads.. making those loads even lower cause they bring in 6-10 ppl would be mind numbing..
ranking is already a burden after about 25.. with the longer uptime of the game, most ranks arent resetting, so zoning for 2hours for 1% is too time consuming already, nevermind if you die.. would need to change it so ranks reset on zone resets


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Re: Group Size
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2014, 05:20:28 AM »
My first thought is that pkill will be a lot more interesting. 10 on 10 is very challenging to keep balanced. My guess is that 5 on 5 is a lot easier.

What will happen in my clan is that we will attempt to run two groups. I wonder how useful a second curer type will be in these groups? With 5 players is a healer and a shaman overkill? I guess that depends a lot on current mechanics, which is pretty useless speculation.