Monday, March 7, 2011

Grouping away (yawp)

I was sitting on 187.208 gold on my four alliance characters in WoW this morning. That's just a bit over 25k profit over the week, which is not shabby by any means, considering how little I pay attention to the detail and profit in general. I may well craft a dozen glyphs to sell at 30g, but end up selling them at 8g, below costs. Mostly out of spite, because no-one else will sell at that time, either.

What has brought this up is simply the obsidium shuffle and the way the cut rares have started to roll out. The Shadowspirit diamonds (the meta gems) are going steadily, but the price range for them is fluctuating quite a lot. The prices may easily go from 168g on one day to 327g on another, and so far I haven't been able to pinpoint the pattern. Perhaps it is connected to the raid days, but I'm not totally sure.

Gnomore got some love over the weekend, a couple of levels up and a very, very interesting encounter with the Archeological dig sites: He ran from one end of an area to another between two sites which kept popping up in sequence. This has changed the way I play Gnomore considerably, hunting for the dig sites rather than gathering nodes. But in the end, this results less deaths, which is nice.

Rift. I've spent some very interesting time in Rift, not only because it is a new game, or because it's beautiful. Mainly because of the guild I got into and the people in there. Also the people within the game - if you shut the general chat off - are very nice and co-operative, something you do not find in WoW in the levelling areas anymore.

The most interesting aspect I encountered was the ease of grouping meaningfully. I was just doing quests and gathering (this follows me from Gnomore for sure...) and I came to the quests leading to the Iron Fort, a big fortress from which the big bad evil warlord was originally from. The quests are quite doable as solo, and there is no need for grouping, but the kill 10 of these, 12 of those and 8 of them quests mount up to some serious killing. So... I grouped with one cleric on the same quests. Soon another player character joined and before I noticed, there were eight of us doing the same quests, running from one tower to another, from tower to altars around the fort and so on.

And it was bleeding fun. Everyone was working towards their own, but at the same time common, aims and ends, chatting about the progress of the quest and having slight RP on the side.

In the end, everyone thanked for the group before splitting and about an hour had passed: it was like an open mini-instance in WoW.

The additional reward for doing the quests in group? Nothing, except getting them done faster than alone, and with style.

I think this one instance shows how a small thought on the social availability of grouping can change the experience quite considerably, and as the players realize more the possibilities of this open grouping, Rift play experience may well change to something we've never seen before. Social design at work, really.

All in all, a fun weekend with the games. With a lot to write about over the week, too.