No random matchmaking for endgame raids in Bungie's new "shared world" shooter Destiny? No problem, say these fans. They will just make their own.
Well, OK, kind of a problem, actually. Despite there being an established precedent for random matchmaking -- that is, a game automatically sorting you into a group of other players -- and pick-up groups in (some) MMOs, Bungie is requiring Destiny players to run endgame raids with their friends.
This is because raids will require a high degree of skill and coordination -- not to mention a couple hours of time. Random players could throw off that delicate balance, the Halo creators suggest, so raids will only be for the chummiest of cloak-clad space wizards.
Many fans, however, take issue with this, given that -- on the simplest terms -- getting five friends together (for a total of six players) is haaaaaaaaaaaard. People have jobs and obligations and hobbies, and only some of those involve space wizardry.
Enter sites like the fittingly titled The Wizard That Came From The Moon, which offers its own sort of player-driven matchmaking system. You plug in factors like platform, timezone, and class, and the fan-made site does the rest. Founder Doug Wickham told Forbes that TWTCFTM already has over 500 members, and it's growing steadily.
There are also clans like Dads of Destiny, which cut through the wailing, diaper-wetting doldrums of day-to-day life to help people play together. "We provide a general group for the fathers among the community to get together to chat about all things Destiny, fatherhood, juggling children and gaming, and really anything else at all. We keep things relaxed and casual, as some of us may be sleep-deprived. If you feel the need to whine, moan, or flame, please do it elsewhere. This group is for the Dads of Destiny Clan that represents all four consoles."
In a sense, then, Bungie's decision to forgo random matchmaking on raids has already created more avenues for friend groups and communities to form -- even if it's not quite as convenient. Success? Perhaps, in a manner of speaking. Some fans seem to like this a lot. I mean, a stronger community and more successful raids? Win-win.
However, others bring up important points about logistical problems here -- that Destiny doesn't offer the full breath of social options you'd get from a more traditional MMO, which might make it difficult to come by groups to raid with in-game:
And as the Forbes article points out, friends-only raids -- whether you're part of a larger clan/group or you're simply lassoing together a bunch of fellow dads/mums/weird uncles -- add an extra organizational step to the process before you get to actually, you know, have fun. Sometimes the difference between doing something and saying "Eh, fuck it" is just one extra bump in the road.
So there are pros and cons to this approach, even if the community seems to be rallying in some really cool ways. It will be interesting to see what happens once Destiny comes out for real next week, as some players will almost certainly sacrifice food, sleep, and general sanity in a mad rush to raid territory. When they peer out at the fruits of their labour through a mask of beard and eye crust, what will they find? Willing raiders or a big fat load of nothing to do? And how much easier will things get after other players catch up? I suppose we'll find out soon.