One vs Many? (Solo vs Party Questing)

QuestHelper Light
QuestHelper Light

It figures, the one week I suggest a something for the Blog Azeroth’s Shared Topic, I lose access to my main computer and WoW. Darnit Irene, bad hurricane, no biscuit!

Time for another Blog Azeroth Shared Topic! (Aug 29-Sept 4)

World of Warcraft has millions of players, hundreds (if not thousands) of which play on the same servers I do—but I couldn’t tell you any of their names. It wasn’t always like this, although I haven’t been playing WoW long enough to really pull a ‘back in my day’.

I played through most of my first leveling run guildless, but with an expanding list of friends that I would party with if they were on. Questing as a group was a norm and I was used to having the company. Once they moved up into raiding, we lost touch, but every so often we’d group up for dailies.

Now, leveling my various alts and dual-boxing teams—I never group for questing at all.

It’s not that I don’t want to; I love the social aspect of the game (even if I’m uber-casual). There just isn’t anyone looking for a helping paw, or two. I’ve thrown out some heals or dps in those few cases where I’ve seen folks who needed immediate help, but after a quick ‘thanks’ we’d both be on our separate ways.

We Need to Talk

All's Quiet on the Western Front
All’s Quiet on the Western Front

I’m not really sure why the game has changed. Sure, the dungeon finder makes it easier to navigate the levels without having to stop and find friends every dungeon quest, but I only did a few dungeons on my first leveling trek.

Is it because the quests are easier now and that helping hand just isn’t needed? I don’t know if it’s skill or simplicity, but for my single alts I find that I’m not struggling as much. The lack of requests may also be because my servers have ‘grown up’ and the folks who are leveling now aren’t new to the game either.

Dual-boxing also adds its own odd layer to things– do people assume since I’m playing a pair that I’m not interested in grouping? Most people assume I’m two players (even after I’ve told them I’m not) so perhaps they figure I already have a teammate and don’t need more…

Of course with phasing and new solo-orriented quests , sometimes grouping isn’t even an option (I’m looking at you evil Worgen starting area!).

All For One

Guild, Sweet Guild
Guild, Sweet Guild

Or maybe it’s just because I’m guildless that I’m feeling the dearth? I’m too casual a player to contribute much to a guild. I’m not good enough to raid and I’m scattered about on so many low-level alts that I can’t farm anything worth contributing.

So I don’t know—are guilds full of low-level folks who turn to guildies to quest with? It would be interesting to see how many folks depend on their guild rather than strangers versus how many of us solo folks lean on each other.

Which is why I tossed the topic out into the Blog Azeroth pool… I’d love to hear how other folks are seeing the same issues, or if they are seeing it at all.

Voices in the Storm

Amerence from Amerence Love WoW seems to have had a similar experience: group questing while low level and new to the game and then moving to solo questing at higher levels and on alts. She makes an interesting point that the improvements to the questing UI make it a lot easier to find and finish quests quickly and that grouping with other players can actually slow leveling instead of speeding things up.

Saga from Spellbound also levels alone, but by circumstance rather than choice. She also points out that with heirlooms even the slightly taxing group quests tend to be easily solo-able now.

Zwingli from Zwingli’s Weblog O’ WoW adds in his two cents, pointing out that hunters never level alone (Hyther and Yon’s purple doomchickens agree!) He came to WoW from another MMO that was heavier on the solo questing and fell into that by default for his initial leveling, but picked up the group questing habit later on.

Which is interesting because I came in from City of Heroes where grouping is the preferred method of leveling. I wonder how much of our play-styles are based on what we’ve known before. Hmm…

Jod from Jod’s Blog has a whole boatload of fond group questing memories from back in TBC. Being able to share the triumphs as well as the cursing grinds seems a better foundation than the quick ‘help and fairwells’ I run into today. And yeah, it may be the rose colored glasses talking, but I definitely agree that something seems to be lacking from the game nowadays… and I haven’t been playing nearly as long!

Elkagorasa from Elkagorasa the Casual shares the doom-and-gloomy views of a Warlock who’s had one too many friends leave him to wander the grinding roads alone. But there’s solace to be found in setting things on fire, so he’s okay with it– really. *FWOOSH*

Kallixta from Kallixta’s Notes agrees that grouping while leveling can be a bit of a pain when you level so fast, but that guilds help solve this problem. She points out that the group events that most guilds hold (like downing the Whale Shark, retro dungeon runs, etc) are good replacements for losing out on questing companions.

Bless from shares the same aversion to group leveling as Elkagorasa, preferring to skip the social aspect in return for leveling faster (and with less gather-quest headaches). He does prefer running dailies with guildies, to relive their mind-numbing repetition, but on the whole he’s more of a go-it-alone kind of paladin.

Nightwill from Info about WoW from the Altaholic thinks that group questing has pretty much gone the way of the dodo and touches on what they see as the three main problems with group questing: XP penalty, phasing/gathering quests, and leveling professions. I had no idea there was an XP penalty, but I suppose it makes sense. All the more reason to quest on rested XP I suppose!

It seems like a lot of the folks who are weighing in do find questing with other folks to be fun, at least when it comes to the non-gathering quests (seriously, how many hoof-less horn-less critters can there be?)

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Saga

    I have mixed feelings about the fact that most group quests can now be soloed. It’s nice in the sense that if you *are* levelling alone you don’t have to wait for someone to be on the same quest or a friend to have time to help you – but it also means meeting a lot less people.

    That being said, I’ve always kept to myself for the most part – only really being social in guilds. I’m not rude if some random player talks to me or asks for help, but I never seek out contact either.

    The few times I do end up playing with someone it’s a lot of fun though, even if it may be a little bit slower levelling. (I like to think it equals out in the end though, since things die quicker when you’re two people – even if you both need the same drops.)

    1. Martha Bechtel

      Oddly one of the main reasons I picked up dual-boxing (other than a new challenge) was so that I could get around the ‘must group’ quests. When I was leveling my solo alts I was having a heck of a time finding anyone to pair up with.

      I do like the ability to level by myself, since I have a very erratic play schedule, I just wish I could find the social aspect that I had back when I first started playing– so I suppose I’m asking for cake /and/ bacon even if it is very tasty cake. 😛

  2. Nightwill

    I really had some fun with this one…well sort of fun since its talking about the end fo something I really enjoyed.

    Thanks for brining it up!

    1. Martha Bechtel

      I’m glad you liked it! It was fun trying to think of a topic that folks would find interesting to write about. I was a little worried when there weren’t that many posts towards the beginning of the week, but it really picked up steam towards the end.

      I’ve added your link to the post as well; sorry for the delay but the weekend was a little crazy. 🙂

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