All Geek to Me

June 3, 2008

Everquest Groups

Filed under: Geek Stuff — Tags: — britinla @ 7:00 am

In Everquest 2 there are some quests and encounters that a character can tackle solo and there is some content that require one or more groups of players. A single group in EQ2 consists of up to six players. If an encounter is designed for more than one group it is described as Epic and tackling it as described as raiding. Most raids in EQ2 require four groups, although there are two and three group Epic targets.

I spend nearly all of my non solo play time in single groups, although I have done some raiding. To be at its most effective a group should consist of characters that fulfill different roles. There should be a fighter, a tank in MMO parlance, whose job is to make sure that the monsters focus their attention on him and her and not the other, more vulnerable, members of the group. There needs to be a healer whose primary focus is to keep the fighter’s wounds cured. Then there are characters that do the heavy damage, such as spell casters. If the area being explored is especially tough, a second healer may be brought along.

I usually group with a specific set of in game friends; fortunately the five of us include a tank, a healer (me), and a damage dealer. One of the other two characters plays an enchanter; this is not generally considered a mandatory group role, but once you are used to what they bring you don’t want to leave home without one. The enchanter brings crowd control abilities to the group mix. One of the most common reasons for a group to be killed in a fight is if you find yourself in combat with more than a single group of creatures. When this happens the tank takes damage more quickly than the healers can heal, or the tank cannot keep the attention of the extra monsters and they start attacking one of the more vulnerable party members. The Enchanter has the ability to prevent these extra creatures from taking action, leaving them frozen until the tank is ready to attack them.

There are times when it is not possible to group with the regulars; although now that I am on a US timezone this happens less frequently than before. If I still wish to group, I am left with the option of pickup groups. These can go well, or they can turn into a set of unfortunate events that might be amusing in retrospect, but tends to be less so at the time as you and your group take a beating. Sometimes pickup groups fail to work simply because players are unfamiliar with each other play styles and things that you expect to be done require communication that does not happen. Sometimes they fail because some of the members just do not know how to play their class. Then there are those times when everything goes swimmingly and a great time is had by all. Pickup groups are a lottery, albeit one with a far higher chance of a favourable outcome than those run by the state.

It is the pleasure of working with friends in a group to achieve a particular in game goal that is the greatest attraction of playing EQ2. The presence of these friends is also the reason that I have not tried playing any of the half dozen or so major MMO games that have launched since I started; the biggest draw is not the game, but the players inside it.

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