It would seem that I’m not the only one with difficulties trying to find a group to run flashpoints with. Tobold here shares his own difficulty with the LFG, or lack thereof, system.
However, unlike most bloggers, who choose to lay the blame on the lack of a dungeon finder, I find it to be the consequence of the game’s tiny group size of 4 players.
My first experience playing MMORPGs was with Lineage 2. Each group can hold up to 9 players. There was no dungeon finder. My next game was Everquest 2, which had a group size of 6 players. Next was Rift, with a group size of 5 players. Along came SWTOR, with a maximum of 4 players to a group.
The problem of decreasing group size has been noted by We Fly Spitfires, and it is exacerbated by SWTOR’s even smaller than usual group size.
SWTOR follows the classic holy trinity class system, which means that for any group to function, two spots are immediately occupied by a tank and a healer. That leaves two open spots to play around with. Not much room for a variety of party setups.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that in every MMORPG, there is a huge disparity between players playing tank/healers, and players playing dps. This is why the LFD tool in WoW offers incentives for people to queue up as an under represented class. It’s the same with SWTOR.
I’m in a guild that’s fairly sized, so grouping shouldn’t be an issue for me, right? Turns out it isn’t the case. With a small group size, one of these problems can occur.
There’s more than four people looking for group.
This one’s pretty obvious. You can argue that regardless of group size, this problem can always happens, but you run into it a lot more with a tiny group size.
In Lineage 2, you could start a group with perhaps 5 and kill just fine, and if more members come on, you can just add them in.
There’s two tanks and one healer, or two healers and one tank looking for group. Or some other combination involving a line up of redundant or less than optimal classes.
Due to SWTOR’s small group size, there’s no room for flexibility. You must take one tank, one healer and two dps. Otherwise you risk running against enraged timers and not being able to kill a boss.
A combination of the above two.
Either way, someone has to be left out, and the remainder usually do not have the right classes to start a new group.
As you can see, there’s an underlying systematic problem with the grouping mechanism, which goes deeper than just the lack of a dungeon finder. And while a dungeon finder might ease the process of finding a group, it won’t solve the issue of disparity between the strict class requirements of a group and the classes players choose the play. While you might be able to quest instead of sitting around the fleet waiting for a group, queue lengths are going to be extremely long if you choose to play anything but a tank or healer.