Community News

07.12.2012

A Guide to Group Finder Part 2

Hi again everyone, my name is Toni Phillips and I’m a part of the production team here for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. Now that Group Finder has launched, there are some areas that cause a bit more confusion than others and I wanted to give you a few more details and clarifications about how the feature works. 

You may have seen some of this information in my PTS posts prior to the release of Game Update 1.3. It’s still all relevant, but a lot of the information in this blog is brand new! I want to focus on how the system works today, especially tied to how roles are selected and how groups are formed.

Shuttling to Starting Location:

When you get a group together to do a Flashpoint or Operation without using Group Finder, you are not shuttled back to your original location when you exit that area - you're taken to the entrance.

Although this is currently how the Flashpoint and Operation exit technology functions, we understand the importance of modifying this functionality, especially for Group Finder. We already have a plan to provide this as soon as possible. The moment we know what update this can be included with, we will let you know!

Tiers of Flashpoints:

What is the difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 Flashpoints? Difficulty! Tier 2 Flashpoints are more difficult than Tier 1, and we felt that it wouldn’t be a good experience to place under-geared players into groups where they couldn’t meaningfully perform their assigned role. To support this, Tier 2 Flashpoints are disabled by default and must be actively enabled through the Group Finder filters. Although there is only a single selection (Lost Island) for Tier 2 right now, there will be more in the future.

Daily Rewards and Commendations:

There have been many questions surrounding the daily rewards for Group Finder and the daily rewards for individual Flashpoints and Operations. 

Group Finder adds daily reward missions for completing Flashpoints and Operations when it is set to the default selections (meaning that you do not uncheck any of the Flashpoints or Operations).  Completing Group Finder daily missions is similar to completing Flashpoint and Operation daily/weekly missions; you must complete the final step of the Flashpoint or Operation to gain the reward.  The final step in many Flashpoint missions requires you to interact with an object in order to complete the mission.  Group Finder daily mission rewards will not be granted until the final step of the mission is completed.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 Flashpoints share the same daily reward mission.   For example, if you are matched for a Tier 2 Hard Mode Flashpoint and complete that mission, you will receive the Group Finder daily reward.  If you queued again for Group Finder and were matched for a Tier 1 Hard Mode Flashpoint, you would not receive an additional Group Finder reward when you completed that Flashpoint.

How can you tell if you are eligible to receive a Group Finder daily mission reward?  In the Group Finder window you will see a reward icon and text message next to each category that has a mission available (Story Mode Operations, Tier 1 Hard Mode Flashpoints, Tier 2 Hard Mode Flashpoints, Flashpoints).  The text displayed next to the icon indicates if you are eligible for the reward and, if not, why.  For example, if you override the default selections and specify a particular Flashpoint(s) to queue for, you will not be eligible for the daily reward and the text displayed will state “Daily reward unavailable with current selections.”

Advanced Classes and Roles:

The roles that you are allowed to queue for in Group Finder are based on your Advanced Class and not your skill point allocation. For example, if you are a Jedi Sage you can queue for both damage and healing.

Once you launch Group Finder, you can limit yourself to a specific role if you so choose.  You can also queue for both of the roles that are available based on your Advanced Class.  However, you are more likely to be assigned to the less common roles (tanking or healing) than to damage.

When Group Finder successfully matches you with a group, the icon next to your name will display the role you have been assigned.  However, Group Finder does not automatically allocate points in your skill tree based on the role selected; you must change your allocations manually if required.  For example, if you are a Jedi Sage that is allocated to a damage tree and you are assigned to a healing role, you will have to travel to the respec vendor and reallocate your skill points before you travel to the Flashpoint or Operation.

Updating Roles:

If you queue for Group Finder as an individual, you can update your roles any time before you accept a group match.  Once you accept a group match, you will only be able to change your role if your group needs to queue for a replacement player.

If you are queued for Group Finder as a group, you will not be able to update the roles you are queued for unless the group composition is not valid. 

When a group leader queues the group for a replacement player, a window will be displayed that allows you to update your role.  You will see an “Update Roles” button that is disabled unless you make a change to your role.  However, if you choose to change your role it will not be applied to your group until you click the “Update Roles” button.

Voting to Kick Group Members:

Group leader options are limited in groups formed through Group Finder.  However, groups must have a method of removing players that are offensive, purposely disruptive, disconnected from the game, or who do not contribute to the group.

Any member of a Group Finder group has the ability to suggest that another player be removed from the group. The vote to kick another member of the group requires at least half of the active members to agree to kick the suggested player.

In a Flashpoint, this means that at least one additional member must vote in favor to remove the suggested player from the group.

In a full eight-man Operation group, this means that at least three additional members must vote in favor to remove the player from the group.

Just like in Flashpoints and Operations with a regular group, a player has 30 seconds before being fully removed from the group and the phase once he or she has been kicked from the group. Once those 30 seconds expire, the removed player will be shuttled back to the entrance to the phase.

To initiate a vote kick, right click on the portrait of the player you want to remove.  From the “Group” menu, select “Vote to Kick.”  This opens up the vote kick window, which requires a comment that explains to the other group members why the player should be removed.

Finding a Replacement:

One of the greatest challenges when grouping in a game like SWTOR is losing people from your group. Group Finder allows your group leader to easily find replacement players.

When a replacement is required, the group leader can open the Group Finder window and click the 'Find Replacement' button - it's in the same location as the “Join Queue” button. As soon as the group leader clicks the button, your group will be checked for compatible role selections and placed into the Group Finder queue. The difference is that when your group enters the queue to find a replacement, your group's priority is much higher than when queuing to form an initial match - this is all to help you find someone as quickly as possible!

When your group must replace a member, all active group members receive the opportunity to reselect their roles. This gives you the opportunity to complete content with a different role entirely.  In addition, this could shorten the time to find a replacement. For example, if someone has been playing a damage role and wants to try to heal, they can change their role selection to include healing when finding the replacement player.

Groups and Group Finder Groups:

You can queue for Group Finder as an individual (solo) or as a partial or full pre-formed group.   There are some differences in the group leader’s options and capabilities depending on the type of group.

  • Standard Group – Group leaders in a standard group are the first player to extend a group invite to other players. ..  They can set the loot roll options, kick players from the group, invite new players to the group, and disband the group at any time.  Standard group leaders also have the option to manually pass leadership to another player in the group.  They can queue their group for Flashpoints or Operations in Group Finder.  When queued for Flashpoints, full groups are immediately matched to content and the group leader retains all options.  When a partial group is queued for Flashpoints, it will be matched with other groups/players and a new Group Finder group will be created.  When queued for Operations, a new Group Finder Operations group will be formed when a match is found.
  • Group Finder Group – Group Finder groups are matched together from combinations of solo queued players and partial pre-made groups.  When a match has been made and all players accept the match, a new Group Finder group is formed.  Group leaders in Group Finder groups are set at random and have a more limited role.  They can still manually pass leadership to any other player in the group at any time.  However, they cannot manually kick players from the group or invite new players.  In addition, loot rolls in Group Finder groups are always locked to Round Robin, Premium.  To give groups more flexibility over the composition of the group, the Vote Kick feature is available to all Group Finder groups.  The only way to fully disband a Group Finder group is if all members leave the group.
  • Operation Group – Group leaders can convert any group into an Operation group.  Operation groups extend a standard group to up to 16 players (four groups of four players) and exclude Companion Characters.  Once an Operation group has been formed, the group leader can only queue their group for Operations.  When queued for Operations, full groups are immediately matched to content and the group leader retains all options.  When queued for Operations, partial groups are matched with other groups/players and a new Group Finder Operation group is created.
  • Group Finder Operation Group – Just like Group Finder groups, Operation Group Finder groups are matched together from combinations of solo queued players and partial pre-made groups.  When a match has been made and all players accept the match, a new Group Finder group is formed.  However, group leaders are randomly selected from players assigned the tank role and have more limited capabilities.  Group leaders can still manually pass leadership to any other player in the group at any time.

Invalid Groups:

All Flashpoints and Operations require a specific combination of roles to form a complete group.  For example, Flashpoints require one tank and healer as well as two damage roles to form a complete group.

Players queued for dual roles may be assigned to either role when a group is matched.  However, dual-queued players (tank/damage or heal/damage) will more likely be assigned to the less common roles (tanking or healing).

Group Finder prevents you from queuing if you have an invalid group composition and provides the opportunity to update and correct the composition of the group.

Queuing Order:

Group Finder attempts to place you into a group by evaluating potential group matches in a specific order. This order is matched to the in-game order displayed in the Group Finder window (from top to bottom). For example, at level 50, Group Finder will first check if you can form a valid Operation, and if not, it will then check Hard Mode Flashpoints, and so on. The specifics:

  • At level 50 this will be in the following order: Story Mode Operations, Tier 2 Hard Mode Flashpoints, Tier 1 Hard Mode Flashpoints, Flashpoints, Planetary Destinations
  • Under level 50 this will be in the following order: Flashpoints, Planetary Destinations

Ignore lists and Group Finder:

Quick Tip: if you place a player on your ignore list, you will never be matched in a Group Finder group with that player.

The feedback we have gotten on Group Finder to date has been great! As we continue our plans for future improvements your ideas and comments will help us to shape the best possible experience. As always, keep it coming!

Be sure to read our first Group Finder Developer Blog here!