When it comes to the topic of grouping in games, more and more games are starting to stray away from it, instead working towards systems that are based on soloing through all of the game's content
Final Fantasy XIV - Promoting Community Through Grouping
When it comes to the topic of grouping in games, more and more games are starting to stray away from it, instead working towards systems that are based on soloing through all of the game's content (or at least most of it, usually leading to end-game). FFXIV has stood by its approach of forced grouping throughout the game, however, which was started with FFXI. Despite being something some players dislike – since it makes relying on other players for your own success – it's shown itself to be a great system, and has fostered a very healthy community as a result.
Taking a Group-Based Approach
When it comes to playing FFXIV, pretty much everything you do gives experience, offering a multitude of ways to level, and opening up the doors to playing your way and getting rewarded for just about anything you do. But where progression is concerned, just about everything revolves around grouping in one way or another. And even when out and about questing, there are tons of public quests that require multiple players to work together to achieve a goal. While they're not necessary to complete, they are enjoyable and rewarding enough that most people do take part when they're around one, creating a system where players work together fairly consistently. Essentially, it's set up such that even if you're out trying to solo, you are immersed into a lot of group content, creating that desire to take part with those you're around.
Progression in terms of raiding is always something that's based around groups, but FFXIV takes things a bit further: the story line takes you through tons of instances that need to be completed, and each of these requires a group. It teaches how to use dungeon matching to find parties and the instances take a procedural approach towards getting more and more difficult, but the fact that even solo players need to do them in order to complete the main story line is a huge boon to the LFG system and community-based play that might otherwise not be there. There are many players that are against getting involved with dungeon queues because they either don't want to run them because they want to play alone or because of bad experiences playing with groups of random players. In the case of FFXIV, it is less of an option and more of a necessity.
End-Game is All Grouping
In most newer games, end-game comes in two parts: solo and group. There are usually some quest lines that are based upon solo play, giving enough to do to help keep players enthralled in the game even if they have no interest in joining up with others. With FFXIV, however, the entire end-game pretty much revolves around nothing but groups. There are, of course, some quests, crafting, exploration, and achievements to go hunting for, but by and large, it's all about running through the queues to join either dungeons or raids. And while both of these content types take a long time in most games due to the lack of players queuing for them, with FFXIV, they're a central part of the game and are pretty much always highly active. Queues are quick and easy to get into, and the versatile class system means it's possible to queue as any role, speeding up queues even further.
Every game has its trolls, which is inevitable. Just by playing online, you're already subjecting yourself to the different personalities and all the good (and the bad) that they happen to bring with themselves. But there is just a different feel to FFXIV's community. Rather than trolling being the norm and most players constantly berating each other and otherwise just being negative, it's more about helping one another and having the best time possible. Whether it's trying to learn what you're doing wrong in instances, figuring out how to obtain or achieve different objectives, or even things like class builds, it's a community that is usually treated like a huge circle of friends.
Making the Game More Enjoyable
There is a definite advantage to how players act within FFXIV: it just makes it more fun. There's no real hesitation to learn new roles or classes, nor take part in new dungeons or raids, as the group you end up with can generally be counted on to help guide the way. Even when messing up while trying to learn what you should and should not be doing, groups are right there to help give advice. And when your role isn’t an absolute necessity (for example, in some battles, a tank isn’t needed or an off-tank can handle it), others will often volunteer to help take over just to make the rest of the battle smoother. As a result, whether joining up as a tank, DPS, or healer, you really don’t have to worry about not knowing what to expect. Just let the group help explain things, enjoy the run, and pick up on it for the next time!
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