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My problem with group finder and how to fix it.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
My problem with group finder and how to fix it.

Machine-Elf's Avatar


Machine-Elf
04.22.2013 , 04:08 PM | #11
Edit: included thread conversation into original post.

GadgetDon's Avatar


GadgetDon
04.22.2013 , 04:20 PM | #12
I've never done a flashpoint outside of the group finder, and there are those I've helped who would never ever go through that effort.

That's not to say I disagree with you that it's a problem, many times I don't understand what we're doing until we've finished. But I'd rather see it fixed through an opening cutscene (maybe a character with a portable holoprojector) - and skippable with space bar if desired.

Jvstin's Avatar


Jvstin
04.22.2013 , 05:37 PM | #13
Once per character isn't outrageous, but consider this: I want to do FPS to level/gear up in the lulls between stories. I've experienced the story content already. I don't even do them anymore because there's always someone who won't space-bar through it, which means what should take ~20 minutes of my time will now take double the time. As a casual player with little time to fit in to actually playing SWTOR, this is pretty irritating because I'm sitting around for half an hour waiting on other people. What I'd LIKE is an option button for people who want to skip all the yakking off the bat: I'm all for the story and the experience of the content, it's a huge draw to the game as opposed to other MMOs, I also don't need to see it six times when I just want some fancy new pants.

Also the "Roll for Companion" option button and Need=BoP is a good idea.

Machine-Elf's Avatar


Machine-Elf
04.22.2013 , 05:37 PM | #14
Quote: Originally Posted by GadgetDon View Post
I've never done a flashpoint outside of the group finder, and there are those I've helped who would never ever go through that effort.
Exactly, this proves my point. Probably because you only started playing the game after 1.3, correct?

Machine-Elf's Avatar


Machine-Elf
04.22.2013 , 10:18 PM | #15
Quote: Originally Posted by Jvstin View Post
Once per character isn't outrageous, but consider this: I want to do FPS to level/gear up in the lulls between stories. I've experienced the story content already. I don't even do them anymore because there's always someone who won't space-bar through it, which means what should take ~20 minutes of my time will now take double the time. As a casual player with little time to fit in to actually playing SWTOR, this is pretty irritating because I'm sitting around for half an hour waiting on other people. What I'd LIKE is an option button for people who want to skip all the yakking off the bat: I'm all for the story and the experience of the content, it's a huge draw to the game as opposed to other MMOs, I also don't need to see it six times when I just want some fancy new pants.

Also the "Roll for Companion" option button and Need=BoP is a good idea.
I think the answer for BioWare here lies in making the existing content in Flashpoints more dynamic and unpredictable (through the addition of an interrupt mechanism a la the Mass Effect Paragon/Renegade system, for instance) as opposed to simply buckling to the pressure and provide us with a tool that allows us to skip the content.

SW_display_name's Avatar


SW_display_name
04.22.2013 , 10:47 PM | #16
It's not a bad idea, but it would ultimately have the effect of making Group Finder queues even longer during the leveling process because new players often are too overwhelmed to track down and accomplish every last little task and mission.

If you say, "Hey, you need to go all the way back to Fleet and talk to Satele Shan, then you can queue for this Flashpoint" ... most new players will just go "OK I might do that eventually" and keep soloing.

But I do agree, some awesome flavor is lost if you just go straight into Group Finder the first time I ran Taral V I had literally no f-ing clue what was going on, why Yoda was talking to me, or why I was being harassed by an annoying scientist about a computer.

I think a better solution, if you're concerned about story context, is to replace the "Flashpoint Couriers" on planets with holoterminals that provide a holo-version of the cutscene that introduces the flashpoint. It isn't perfect, true, but it would allow people to get the basic idea without breaking their solo play.

I know a lot of players are resistant to going back to Fleet in the middle of a planet because it takes forever to get back to where you were. Most are not resistant to watching story scenes / dialogues, though.

Machine-Elf's Avatar


Machine-Elf
04.22.2013 , 11:14 PM | #17
Quote: Originally Posted by SW_display_name View Post
It's not a bad idea, but it would ultimately have the effect of making Group Finder queues even longer during the leveling process because new players often are too overwhelmed to track down and accomplish every last little task and mission.

If you say, "Hey, you need to go all the way back to Fleet and talk to Satele Shan, then you can queue for this Flashpoint" ... most new players will just go "OK I might do that eventually" and keep soloing.

But I do agree, some awesome flavor is lost if you just go straight into Group Finder the first time I ran Taral V I had literally no f-ing clue what was going on, why Yoda was talking to me, or why I was being harassed by an annoying scientist about a computer.

I think a better solution, if you're concerned about story context, is to replace the "Flashpoint Couriers" on planets with holoterminals that provide a holo-version of the cutscene that introduces the flashpoint. It isn't perfect, true, but it would allow people to get the basic idea without breaking their solo play.

I know a lot of players are resistant to going back to Fleet in the middle of a planet because it takes forever to get back to where you were. Most are not resistant to watching story scenes / dialogues, though.
But that's the way it used to be, prior to the group finder's inclusion. Players would run into an NPC droid as they were questing on a planet, who would provide them with the option to shuttle directly to the fleet if they so chose. From there, players would then look for other players to group up with, after which they would gather at the holoterminals downstairs to receive their sit-rep from Satele Shan or Darth Malgus.

I never thought it was a perfectly conceived system, but I didn't come up with it, and it's certainly better than skipping the content altogether, which is what the group finder leads one into doing.

That said, I love your holoterminals idea.

AlexDougherty's Avatar


AlexDougherty
04.23.2013 , 08:25 AM | #18
Quote: Originally Posted by Machine-Elf View Post
So Group Finder was one of the most widely hailed features to be implemented in the game when it finally rolled out.
The problem is, it's left the game somewhat broken for new players who try to enjoy its story as intended.

Why? Because it explicitly rewards players for skipping the story introductions to the flashpoints in question -- those introductory cutscenes in which each faction's leader (Satele Shan/Darth Malgus) would set up their premise, and provide the narrative impetus for players to want to run them in the first place. So yeah, the group-finder, the way it's set up now, basically hurls players into these scenarios without so much as a clue as to the what they're doing there, how they got there, and why they should care.

This is especially galling coming from a developer that prides itself on having story as its fourth-pillar.

So my suggestion is to make it so the only way players can unlock flashpoints in group finder is by running them the traditional way at least once per character. In other words, finding a group via general chat, then going down to the holoterminals in the fleets' lower decks to get the respective FP sit-reps from the faction leaders, the way we used to. And the great thing is, not only would this fix the aforementioned problems, players would also get the added benefit of racking up on the social points which are awarded for going about things in this manner.


Everything you described above details the kind of experience I personally would rather have with SWTOR, being a stickler for story myself. I wish they would re-integrate those pre-requisites for running Flashpoints into the game, possibly in the form of an optional toggle for players who wish to experience the game's content in continuity.


You're missing the point, I think. Yes, the story quests are still there to be run in the traditional manner if one so chooses, but the issue is that if you're a new player there is no way for you to even know of this choice unless informed of such by, say, a veteran of the game with an odd-ball penchant for running Flashpoints in the traditional manner (in other words, me).

How could you? I mean, the game not only currently introduces Flashpoints via group finder, it even goes out of its way to incentivize the player to run them through it by offering commendations as rewards.

And I think your last concern about these players not finding a group to do their initial run because everyone else is on group-finder is misplaced, as a perfunctory glance of general chat will attest.
that's a problem with players not group finder.
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Arlon_Nabarlly's Avatar


Arlon_Nabarlly
04.23.2013 , 09:26 AM | #19
One time per character wouldn't really fix the issues you're concerned about.

Honestly I think what they should do is add a new mode (I would say call it story but since story is already used for something it shouldn't be I guess call it social mode?)
- Social Story Mode
- Story Mode
- Social Hard Mode
- Hard Mode

Alternately they could go back to Story mode being called Normal like it was at launch and go with:
- Story Normal Mode
- Normal Mode
- Story Hard Mode
- Hard Mode

If you queue for one of the social modes then the space bar to skip conversations is disabled and you have to do the introduction and closing conversations. This would have some pros and cons about the fact that it would split the queue populations, it would limit the rage of people arguing for or against space bar but increase the queue time to actually get into the instances.

Since there are achievements for killing bosses in each mode, this would essentially add the 1 time requirement, but make it an optional achievement requirement rather than a forced requirement.

Machine-Elf's Avatar


Machine-Elf
04.23.2013 , 01:53 PM | #20
Quote: Originally Posted by AlexDougherty View Post
that's a problem with players not group finder.
Oh, really? Do tell.