1. Hey Guest! If you're more than just a WildStar fan and want to keep up on the latest MMO news, reviews and opinion pieces then I'd like to suggest you visit our sister site MMO Central

Cross-Realm Blues

Discussion in 'Gaming Arena' started by Yakzan, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Yakzan

    Yakzan "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    743
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Iceland
    Welcome to the second of my series of posts about MMO design. I‘m experimenting with a different format so feedback is welcome, but don‘t forget to also discuss the topic of today.

    TL;DR: Cross-realm features. To start, cross-realm matchmaking: Good or bad? Was the sacrifice of community building worth the convenience?

    Cross-realm functionality. It‘s a tricky bugger and comes in many forms. They‘re most popularly seen as a matchmaking system for certain types of content in a game (Dungeon Finder and Battleground queueing in WoW, f.x.) It can also come in the form of bridging together players from different servers (Guesting in GW2, cross-realm zones and grouping via RealID in WoW.) It has its pros and cons which I would like to discuss.

    This time I wish to bring up different aspects of these systems one at a time. Let‘s start off with cross-realm matchmaking. It‘s one solution to the age-old question of “I want to do this now but there are not enough players on my server at this time. “ In WoW, it did a great job of removing the wait for getting a party together and with you being teleported to the dungeon wherever in the world and right back when you‘re done.

    A lot of hassle saved, right? There are thousands, if not millions, of people who like this, and that’s okay. Now for what I see as cons: It helped create a barrier to social interaction and building a server community. Due to the large pool of players you’re likely to be matched with, a huge sense of anonymity and lack of consequences is created. This was already apparent and reported on when people kept just rolling and taking loot that they in no way needed, because there was no consequence. They wouldn’t be remembered, they weren’t even on the same server. This aspect of “community reputation” was destroyed. Also, because of the convenience this system provided, finding a group via the older methods were abandoned as it wasn’t as quick or simple. The system also encouraged you to use the dungeon finder because you even got a buff from it. What happened is that an aspect of social interaction was sacrificed for convenience with nothing to counter it. The MMO lost a lot of its MMO, in my eyes, and became a lot closer to a lobby-based game, akin to LoL or TF2.

    Do tell your thoughts on this. Give your experience of how this has been handled in other games that you might have played (I know Rift uses this, f.x.) and how this has affected you. Do you believe that the sacrifice was worth it? Could it be done different? Am I just completely wrong? I’d love to know! There is no wrong answer or opinion, just different ones and I, personally, would love to see it.
    Alverad, Evion, Kurik Lein and 2 others like this.
  2. Loveless

    Loveless Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I grew up on Kirin Tor (RP) on WoW, originally being entirely against pvp...but eventually coming to love it as an aspect of my prideful character. I absolutely loved competing with friends on the Horde side in battlegrounds and on the field, trying to overcome the enemies I'd see so often on our realm. Even those enemies became constant parts of my gameplay experience. It was great to learn someone's strategy...and see them learning yours. The same went for Dungeons, though I had more of a crutch for those with my RP friends.

    I felt so accomplished when our group leader made it to High Warlord. It was such an insane goal, and required such a high track record every week...

    One of my fondest memories of the game is when I stood up to the dominant 60 pvp guild on our side (horde) for insulting the 59 'bracket campers' (the group I had gotten used to). How someone plays a game should be of no concern to anyone else. The guild made a big hubbub about it, and I dueled their lead geared discipline priest with my little shadow priest. Trashed me thoroughly....but they didn't say anything about us anymore. Nostalgia!

    To note, all of that is gone now, though I figured that'd be obvious.
    Joukehainen likes this.
  3. Vhiral

    Vhiral Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    48
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I personally don't really like cross-realm functions in a matchmaking system, because it breaks apart the community. And in my personal experience running to the front of the dungeon with a group that you put together in trade chat is fun. And when I used to do dungeons in WoW, with the matchmaking system it started to feel like a rinse and repeat cycle. Where I didn't need to talk to anyone, or actually involve in anything on the server. I just had to queue up and run around Orgimmar until a button popped up on my screen.
    Joukehainen likes this.
  4. moneda

    moneda Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Likes Received:
    240
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Personally I'd really appreciate it if they could find a way to maintain a high, even population on a server, which I feel is the natural solution to the above problem. For me the negative of a disconnected server community is enough reason to toss cross-realm anything down the tubes, though I recognize that isn't the case for many.
    Vembumees, Evion, Yakzan and 2 others like this.
  5. Optimisticnerd

    Optimisticnerd Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    California
    I think that it all depends on server/faction population.

    I think that a good format would be this:

    If you are on a low-population server, you may queue for cross-realm dungeons.

    If you are on a high-population server you should not be able to queue for cross-realm dungeons as you should already have enough people on your server to do this regardless of level; however, high population servers should still have a form of LFG, but one that only seeks out members from your server.

    Additionally, I would also make cross-realm dungeons available people who are on high-population servers under a certain condition. Being that they would only be able to use it if their faction had low population (EX: Illidan on WoW, almost 100% horde, but still a very high population server.)

    This way the people who need the LFG system in order to do dungeons will be able to get it, but the people who don't (high pop servers) will still be able to use something similar to LFG and have the convenience of teleporting to the dungeon and not having to post "LFG for DM" in general chat for 20 minutes, yet still keep a sense of community reputation, and accountability.

    However... I hope that Carbine is smart enough to do something with the servers to make it so there are very few to no low population servers.

    As for PVP I think that we should always have the option to queue for cross-realm PVP. Regardless of the population of server/faction. After all, regardless of server, there will always be baddies. So it doesn't make that much of a difference. The only difference will the queue time. And on servers like Illidan on WoW, imagine if there was no cross-realm pvp there... You'd literally never get into a BG.
    Kirathis and Yakzan like this.
  6. Nym

    Nym Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    Likes Received:
    92
    Trophy Points:
    28
    LFG tools and BG match making tools do not ruin world pvp or server communities.

    What ruins server communities is lack of incentives for your server to care about each other. Open world PVP objectives, weekend based events in the open world. These type of activities that can be done to make individuals care about their server community. This is the world we live in now so to speak. We can have our cake and eat it to, if developers are willing to put in community building events straight into the game from the start.

    Also, player/guild owned areas is a huge way to get players interested in there server. Allowing players to either democratically or pvp for "control" over an area in the actual persistent world is a great way to get people to actually care about who and what is going on, on their server. By control I mean allowing them to set a tax rate on vendors or hell even just slapping there name across the zone will work people into a frenzy over who's who on a server. I personally can't stand E-politics but I know a lot of people enjoy that aspect of gaming.
    SiegaPlays, Evion, Yakzan and 2 others like this.
  7. John

    John "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Likes Received:
    618
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    USA
    Well said. I view cross-realm tools as a last resort option to try and save a sinking game. Ideally Carbine wont stretch the playerbase too thin by having too many servers.
  8. Hope

    Hope Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    33
    It's a matter of simple evolution, really. Standing in town spamming local/chat became inefficient as MMOs became more popular, so better tools had to be introduced.

    Making them cross-server might not be a popular solution, but in my opinion, it actually saved communities on medium/low population servers. It encouraged people to stay on their server (rather than quitting/transferring) when it made finding groups for leveling and lower tier dungeons actually possible.

    The trend is obvious. In Guild Wars 2, everything is cross-server. Guilds, overflow zones, the trading post, dungeon groups, everything.

    The Elder Scrolls Online intends to get rid of the concept of "servers" completely.

    Tight communities work great for small and niche MMOs. Mainstream ones attract way too many different kinds of players, a large part of which simply don't care about a community and just hang out with their friends. Making finding groups less convenient won't change that.

    Still, I'm sure that if you put a little effort into it you'll manage to find similar minded gamers on any server. I remember seeing people organizing world events on my old WoW server forums long after cross-server LFG was introduced. Or maybe consider rolling on an RP server instead. :D
  9. JarNod

    JarNod WildStar Haiku Winner 2012 / Lead Guinea Pig

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Likes Received:
    815
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Moscow, ID
    Since I'm doing schoolwork while I type this, it may feel a little discombobulated...

    I might be old school in that I dislike sacrificing time consuming aspects of a game for the sake of convenience. I will refrain from discussing those in this post, and I will discuss my own experiences with LFG tools both with and without.

    I started grouping in Vanilla WoW, no it wasn't my first MMO but it was the first I spent a lot of time playing. I started playing around the time they introduced WSG. We didn't have queues for BGs at that time, and, in fact, you had to run to Ashenvale to even play in the battleground. LFG tools for dungeons was way far off. Why do I tell you this? Because I knew my opponents and respected them. When X-realm queues were introduced for PvP, I would rarely come across people from me own server. I didn't have the same rivalry I did previously.

    The same thing happened in SWTOR for me as well. I knew if I came across this Sniper named "Helios", the Warzone would be competitive. People knew my name on Empire side, and I even had a few people tell me they re-rolled to Scoundrel equivalent on Empire because of me. Not having cross server queues made my experience much richer.

    Now, let's go to the question at hand, X-realm LFG tool for PvE... The only time I actually experienced two different types of this was Rift. In WoW, I stopped dungeoning about the time that the LFG tool was implemented. But in Rift, we had an LFG tool implemented, and then it was increased to cross server, so I can speak to it personally.

    Cross realm queues (in my opinion) are the epitome of sacrificing something that requires hard work (or lots of time) for the sake of convenience. I hate the groups where I would queue up and no one would say anything to anyone. The whole thing felt as if I was solo-questing next to a bunch of random people. Sure, we were working together, but since we hadn't interacted to get the group going, there was no point to interact in the dungeon unless someone needed help. The only reason these people are in the dungeon is to get the loot, not to play together...

    But even worse than that... I got into a group and started up a conversation (something I just started doing JUST to make me feel less alone in my dungeon mini-games). Everyone started chatting with me, and we had a grand old time. It felt like I had invited my friends in Vanilla WoW again. In fact, everyone was having so much fun that we all decided to queue up together (something Rift allowed even if you were cross server). We ended up running 4 or 5 dungeons that one evening cause we were crazy! It was one of my favorite times in Rift. So, JarNod, why is this worst than the time no one spoke? Well, let me tell you! Once we finally had to stop instancing, we had NO WAY OF INTERACTING. I couldn't ever play with these guys again...

    I can see LFG tools if they're the same server because I can interact with people again if I want to run a dungeon later. But when you add other servers to the mix, I will never see these people again once I'm done with the dungeon. If you want an example of ruining community, look no farther than that...
    Vembumees, Patrician, Yakzan and 3 others like this.
  10. JarNod

    JarNod WildStar Haiku Winner 2012 / Lead Guinea Pig

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Likes Received:
    815
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Moscow, ID
    this is my problem with LFG tools inherently, but it's not a community issue. It became most efficient for tanks and healers to sit at the AH spamming the LFG button. They could out-level the players who were out questing.
    Yakzan likes this.
  11. Nym

    Nym Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    Likes Received:
    92
    Trophy Points:
    28
    That's not the LFG tools fault, that's the actual developers not giving any incentive to leaving the major towns. If they gave the group a buff if they used the summoning stone and only players from there server more people would, but developers give you no reason to leave the main city. Its such a simple fix and yet so few even look at the problem. Adding open world events, open world pvp objectives that draw players out of the cities, can easily change the dynamic of a server.
    SiegaPlays, Yakzan and Hope like this.
  12. moneda

    moneda Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Likes Received:
    240
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Looking for a group via a chat channel became less efficient as MMOs became more popular? That doesn't sound right to me. More people seeing your message made it more difficult to assemble a group? I'd more readily believe servers with smaller populations made LFG tools more necessary, which had the unfortunate affect of enticing them to stay in ghost towns they should have abandoned.

    Open world PvP objectives surely does help people entice people to PvP on PvP servers, I'll give you that. Do you think this applies to PvE servers also? If Wildstar has loads of open world objectives to satiate the PvP community and a cross-realm LFG tool, do you think PvE servers will have communities as tight-knit as those on PvP servers?
    Yakzan likes this.
  13. Grohmm

    Grohmm Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    France, Paris
    Of course the match making doesn't ruin it, but i remember WoW Vanilla when i knew every PvPers of the other faction, and it was such a great feeling when we started to focus on the great players in the BG. The server community was very important because it's always nice to have a reputation in this community, and it's easy to create dramas and have some kind of known "enemies"(kos) in the other faction.

    The cross-realm, in WoW for example, just killed the feeling of belonging to a community. The PvP in BGs became just a fight vs random people. But it has allowed to go to one BG to another faster.

    I hope Wildstar is going to limit the cross-realm to 2 or 3 servers, in order to develop a community between the linked servers.
  14. Hope

    Hope Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    33
    That's exactly right.

    As MMOs became more popular, they became bigger, more zones, people were more spread out. Eventually as expansions were released (think Burning Crusade), old zones became emptier and it indeed became harder to find groups. You had to walk to town and spam trade chat to even have a chance of getting a reply.

    Especially on medium/low population servers.
    SiegaPlays likes this.
  15. JarNod

    JarNod WildStar Haiku Winner 2012 / Lead Guinea Pig

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Likes Received:
    815
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Moscow, ID
    I don't know... There has to be an incentive to run dungeons as well. If it's more efficient to do quests and level up that way, no one would do dungeons. If it's the same experience efficiency to do quests as it is to do dungeons, but the dungeons have better loot, everyone will run the dungeons... The way it was balanced before was that the dungeon experience was much greater than regular questing, but it took about the same amount of time to do because it took so long to find a group...

    Once you make it time efficient to click the LFG button, you have to change the way dungeons fundamentally work, because they're now the most efficient way to level up. Sure you can give incentives to leave main areas, but most people choose efficiency over pleasure...

    If you have ways to fix my "problems" above, I would love to hear them.
    Yakzan and Optimisticnerd like this.
  16. Optimisticnerd

    Optimisticnerd Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    California
    Just throwing it out there, for the love of god Carbine... DON'T make cross-realm zones like WoW did.
    Kataryna likes this.
  17. moneda

    moneda Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Likes Received:
    240
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I feel as though the problem you're describing is one of empty zones and not a large population... especially considering how you ended this post. :confused:
    Yakzan likes this.
  18. JarNod

    JarNod WildStar Haiku Winner 2012 / Lead Guinea Pig

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Likes Received:
    815
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Moscow, ID
    Wait what?! I missed this... what happened?
  19. Optimisticnerd

    Optimisticnerd Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    California
    You didn't know? You lucky <REDACTED>. I wish I could forget. Blizzard decided that there were too many empty zones on low-med pop servers, so instead of doing the intelligent thing and just combining low pop servers, they instead made all low-level zones (any zone that wasn't MoP) cross-realm zones. For example, on Velen I was able to see several people from several different servers running around searing gorge killing <REDACTED>. Questing at low levels sometimes became impossible...

    This was one of the many failures that made me quit WoW.

    Stupidest. decision. ever.
  20. JarNod

    JarNod WildStar Haiku Winner 2012 / Lead Guinea Pig

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Likes Received:
    815
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Moscow, ID
    I quit WoW before I started raiding in TBC, to be honest... I came back and leveled up to 70 about 6 months after it came out and hated the LFG tools. Raiding Karazhan a couple of times and just quit again. Tried it out again when WotLK came out and couldn't even get my toon to 80... I haven't touched it since :(

    So yeah, this is news to me...
    Patrician likes this.

Share This Page