Party Formation and Leadership
Dungeons & Dragons Online is highly focused around the formation of groups and entering dungeons to battle the forces of evil. While you can certainly party with people you know or have played with before, a great deal of playtime will involve grouping with other players you have yet to meet in the game.
This guide focus’s on the leader of groups who advertise or seek out unknown characters to join his or her party, ie, the leader or PUGs or Pick up Groups. A PUG will be defined in this guide of any party consisting of one or more players who join a group advertised in the Grouping Window, or is contacted and invited to the group by the leader from the Who List. This guide will cover recruitment of other players to PUGs, frowned upon recruiting practices, and other related material of note in relation to running a party.
Players are recommended to read or refer to other guides when reading this guide, as terminology used may not be covered or understood without clarification of other sources.
Players should make note that this guide has be written in a step by step format. Therefore it is recommended that players do not skim the guide but read it in its entirety in regards to Recruiting Party Members.
Party Leaders and Groups
First the Party Leader: the player with the intention of forming and leading a party into a dungeon. Party Leaders start up or begin forming groups in one of two ways: They invite someone to party with them, or they advertise in the grouping window and someone requests to join to party. Once someone accepts to join or is accepted into the group, a Party of two is formed. An additional four players may be recruited into the group, or if desired the remaining group slots may be filled with Hirelings, or NPC party members.
For those looking to run larger groups, a group may be changed from Party status to Raid Status once there are two group members in a group. Raid Status allows for an additional six other characters, but such groups may only run Raid type quests or wilderness areas. Note that Hirelings can't be included on Raids, and currently the The Subterrane, a wilderness area in the Marketplace, and the House C Manufactury, a wilderness area in House Cannith are raidable wilderness areas.
Recruitment of players can sometimes be a time consuming and tedious process that varies with the time of day or what the group is being recruited for, the preferences of the person recruiting, and certain quests that may require careful recruitment of key players to help ensure a successful completion. However, the benefit is that the Party Leader has full control over who he invites into the party and the terms and specifications the party runs on. Additionally, the Party Leader has full control to remove undesired characters from his party if he is not content with them for whatever reason.
It is however important to note however that some things are expected of the Party Leader when forming a party. They are expected to recruit the needed players to run the quest, so this may refer to character who can penetrate the Dungeon Bosses damage reduction or a Rogue to disarm the traps. They are also expected to form a party in a timely matter unless otherwise stated. With the power to manage a group as desired also comes the responsibility of doing so properly, so it is expected by many that a group leader to handle disciplinary actions when needed or to make group decisions (or make the decision to let other peoples make the decision where appropriate).
Methods of Recruitment for Party Mates
As stated, additional character may be recruited either by inviting them to join the party or them seeing an advertisement that your group is looking for more characters and requesting an invite to the party. When looking to get a party up as quickly as possible, it is best to pursue both options to get a full party. However there are some key points that should be followed:
First, try talking to Friends or Guildmates, before you do anything else. Players are more inclined to join a group with characters already in it, or people they have played without before, especially if those characters are mission critical people that don’t need to be searched for. Also, if characters are standing in front of quest entrance, they may either be planning to run it, or part of a party being formed for it. Talking to them or checking for their group in the Grouping Window to join may be a good idea if everyone is looking to run the same quest. It both prevents you from having to compete with the other group for characters, and may allow for a group to form that much quicker, or simply allow you to join a group that is closer to entering the dungeon. This is in reference to characters who generally may be part of a similar LFM being advertised in the the Grouping Window, random characters that aren't grouped and standing outside a quest instance aren't considered at this stage.
After you do the above, you should form a Looking for More advertisement in the Grouping Window to gather additional players needed to form a group. When making the advertisement, you should check off character classes you aren’t looking for, adjust the level range to meet the criteria of the group you are trying to form. After this you should scroll thought the quest list if you are looking to run a specific quest, or an example of a quest you plan to run in a quest area, and select the difficulty you would like to run the quest at, or can open it at.
Next you should fill out a descriptive comment about your party, here you would include details such as No-Zerg, Favor Only, BYOH and so forth; also include what type of character you might be including such as needing a Healer, DPS, or Trap Monkey. You might also include some quest related information if you are forming a party for a multitude of quests or just planning on running in a Wilderness area, such as GH walk-ups, Ataraxia S/R/E; or include information such as N/H/E, or Highest Difficulty.
Finally for information, you should consider what type of level range for characters you will be looking for to do the quest. Think about issues regarding loss of experience from people being too high a level for what you plan to do, or the level spread of characters in the party. Generally, try to have no more then a 3 level spread, and no character more then 2 levels above the Quest Difficulty Level + Hard or Elite Difficulty level increase. With the inclusion of Bravery, you may also want to consider those looking to continue their streaks by running the quest at 2 levels above the Quest Difficulty level or Normal only.
After filling out the information, simply begin advertising for additional party members. Your advertisement will remain even if you close the window, and your chat log or speakers will let you know if you are getting requests for invites from those seeking to join your party. Keep in mind though that you can stop advertising for more if you go back to the Grouping Window and check off the Advertising Box, and that you can also modify your advertisement as your party fills. You can also get additional information from the Party Request window if you deem it important enough. An advertisement will also discontinue if your party fills all six spots, though you can toggle the advertisement back on with a full group.
Another way of recruiting additional members is to simply type in a note in the General Chat of the instance you are currently in. Party Leaders may broadcast in the general area that they are seeking to fill out a party, and other additional information that relates to what they would already be broadcasting in the advertising window. In highly populated area a Party Leader may also jump between multiple instances or move to different areas that might be close by. This is one of the popular ways to gain additional party mates for the Korthos Island quests, especially newbies who might not know about the Grouping Window. It is however slightly annoying to some players further along in the game as well. Later on in the Marketplaces or Houses, you should probably consider against it.
If it seems party recruitment is going slow, another important method for recruiting additional party memberst is the use of the Who List. The Who List represents all non-anonymous characters on the server and it can be filtered as needed if you are looking for certain people. Additionally, players may toggle their characters are Looking For Group, and Party Leaders may browse through a filtered list of just those players. Generally looking through the LFG list and sending tells to those people is fine, but players can also try messaging other people in the Who List as well. Make a note that some people may be afk when sending your tells but respond to you after a long period of time has passed.
Key Warnings Regarding Recruitment
A key note however should be made when looking to recruit additional players however. Some practices are frowned upon and Party Leaders should take careful note to avoid certain practices when recruiting additional players to their parties:
It is generally frowned upon to send blind invites to characters in hopes that they join your party. It is also frowned upon to send a tell followed by an invite before the person on the other end has had time to even read what you sent or reply back. Generally people don’t like that little invite window popping up in front of them when they are engaged in other activities, and in the case of the blind invite, people won’t have any idea of what party they would be joining.
It is also frowned upon to set up false advertisements for additional characters to a party. However, because it may be by mistake it is usually forgiven if the Party Leader does it by accident. If it’s a mistake, simply just modify or remove the advertisement when it comes to your attention.
Another frowned upon practice though is leaving people sitting in the request queue’s for entry to a party. If someone requests to join the group, the party leader should either accept the character to the party, decline the character to the party, or send a Tell to the character about any concerns. It should be noted though that if a party leader accepts someone into the group and it fills the party that all other characters in the queue will automatically be declined.
Finally, the most important note: Before you set up an advertisement, check to see if you will have time to run the quest. If your time might be short, make a note of it when characters join up.
Principles of Managing a Party
As a common rule, he Party Leader is the one who sets the pace for the quest. He’s the one who forms the party and who will make decisions. Generally this is done at the start of where the group forms or before the group enters the quest instance, but it can also be done during the quest. However, it is important to realize that a party leader should keep a few principles in mind when running the quest.
The first principle is doing the quest within the limits of what the current party can or cannot do. Where you do the optional objectives or zerg a quest may be based on the simple fact of how much time a person may have to run the quest or the abilities of the party at hand. If a party enters a quest where their healer is simply a Bard with limited spellpoints, it might be wise just to aim to complete the quest as quickly as possible before those spellpoints run out, or to complete most of the quest to an end boss before heading back to look into completing some optional objectives.
The second principle is running the party with other party members in mind. If you have some people who are running a quest for the first time, perhaps you should try and run every element of the quest for their benefit if it can be successfully run, or if they are looking for experience then the quest should be run to get the highest experience per second possible. Possibly the greatest concern is simply guiding someone through a quest that isn’t easily navigated or requires careful movement, and having to keep an eye on such party members to make sure they keep up with the group, or to go back and fetch them should they got lost.
The third principle is simply to acknowledge when and if it is time to stop playing with certain characters or to abandon a quest. Sometimes it will occur that a party forms that isn’t up to the task at hand, or players behind the characters simply don’t get along. It could simply be that players are on different playing levels, or following strategies that don’t mix well with one an other. It could also be that the party simply isn’t able to pull off a quest. There is a time to regroup, and a time to leave a quest and sometimes even completing a quest with a bad group isn’t worth it.
The final principle is trying to accomplish whatever goal it was that the Party Leader had in forming the party in the first place. Sometimes it might be to run a quest on elite, and sometimes it is just to party with other characters. Really it is the Party Leader that forms the party so there is nothing wrong with him trying to reach his goals, and people joining him can either help him or if those goals differ from what they want to do, they can simply form their own parties.
Of course as well, it might be mentioned that this is a game and it might be a principle to have fun, if that even needs to be mentioned. Other players might have their own principles to add, and so might you who will be reading this guide.
Other Important Notes
Sometimes it may be deemed necessary to discontinue with a party mate, however, there a times when party members can't be removed from the party. It is important to note when managing party members, that they cannot be dismissed when they are in a dungeon or wilderness area. They only exception to this rule is when the player disconnects during a quest. Party Leaders will have to wait until players enter a public area to remove them from the party, or simply reform the party outside in a public area without them.
Party Leaders are advised to try and filter out potentially problematic party mates before entering a quest, or boot them form the party whenever they enter a public area when they leave the quest instance.