MMO Grouping

As I’ve discussed before, applying to a good guild can be a serious proposition. I might be considered a little crazy and possibly elitist for saying this, but its the simple truth: when I form a group to do something, I treat every prospective group member as if they were applying to a high end guild. I may not be quite as thorough, but for every person that asks to join, I reply with a quick delaying response, then spend 2 minutes quickly researching them.

I’ve always been astonished at how many people are just so bad at these type of games. Admittedly, I have a good chunk of experience at this, but I do expect that after putting in 100+ hours into a game, you’re playing at a moderate level of skill. Being a decent human being goes a long way towards compensating for lack of skill, but I’ve met some truly nice people who couldn’t handle the simplest of tasks. I’ve also met my share of unpleasant people who were extremely good players.

My goal at the end of the day is to have fun, but many people seem to treat these games as a form of self inflicted torture, enduring bad groups and slow monotonous runs for just a chance at an item they want. I long ago decided that if a game wasn’t fun, it wasn’t worth playing anymore.

To mitigate bad experiences grouping, I developed a short list of qualities I look for in each prospective group member. Any time I consider inviting someone I don’t know to a group, I consider these factors:


Good or bad, the impression you make on people will tend to spread throughout the community. Perhaps a friend or a guildmate grouped with you and had a good time. Based on that recommendation, I’m willing to give you a try.


If I’ve seen you talking in a public channel, on a forum, or seen you in pvp, and I found your conduct less than becoming, that’s a clear sign to me that you’re probably not worth my time. If I’ve seen you respectfully selling items or asking questions, I’m more inclined to give you a shot.


If I’ve never heard of your guild, I don’t hold it against you. If you’re a member of a notoriously bad guild, or perhaps I’ve had a bad experience or two with some of your guildmates, it doesn’t exactly bode well. On the other hand, if you’re a member of a well known guild with a good reputation, or if I’ve had fantastic experiences with members of your guild, it helps.


Obviously not everybody can be decked out in fantastic gear, with the absolute best item for each slot. That said, if you’re wearing a poor piece of gear in more than one slot, and I’m aware of moderately easy upgrades you could have put in those slots with a little effort, it doesn’t say a lot for your dedication. If you choose a piece of gear that boggles the mind at how poor a choice it is, I’m not even going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Lack of Standards

I not only look for these qualities when picking group members, but I apply them to each and every member of an existing group I want to join. I’d rather turn down an iffy group than join and waste a few hours of my life not having fun.

Unfortunately, not everybody is as careful as I am when picking and choosing their group members. If a group is in need of someone with my abilities, I first take a minute or two and look up every member of the group, quickly checking each member’s name/guild/gear and factoring in class makeup and destination. If they pass muster, I ask to join. Better than half the time, the response is “Sorry, somebody else asked first.”

I’ll invariably figure out who they invited over me, and run my little background check on them. I’ve been truly shocked at times with the quality of the player that got into a group instead of me. At one point I got into a discussion with the group leader, where the main thrust of the conversation went like this: “So let me get this straight, you invited JohnDoe34 over me, despite the fact that I have three times the damage potential, I add a much needed class to your group and he duplicates another class you have, I belong to a very well known guild and he’s guildless, and to top it off this guy isn’t even wearing pants!”

Now I’m not trying to say that they couldn’t succeed with pantless JohnDoe34, they might do just that. But the rest of the group will be struggling to compensate for the sheer lack of equipment and the low damage of their final member. At least with me, they could be guaranteed success and speed up their run by an hour or more. And I’d like to think I’m more fun to talk with than the pantless individual.

Call me crazy, but filling an empty spot in a group isn’t as simple as grabbing the first warm body to reply to your call. When faced with a dozen people vying for the spot, I inform each and every one that I need a moment to consider, as I have a lot of people looking to join. I run my little background check on each member, systematically eliminating those who don’t fit the bill. Once I’ve gotten rid of the chaff, I consult with the rest of the group. Mainly I’m looking for input on our chances with the final class makeup, and making sure nobody with a bad reputation snuck past my filter. Once I’ve invited the new member, I inform every person who requested a spot that they were not chosen, and give them the reason why.

I will admit to dropping my standards on occasion due to lack of interest in the destination, but for the most part I stick to my principles. The result has been the elimination of a lot of frustration, a lot less wasted time, and a lot more fun on my part. Is it too much to ask that everybody else apply the same minimal standards to their own grouping experiences?

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