Don't be fooled by my join date... I've played this game on and off for years now, but my highest leveled character is 16, which is a bard. I've got a cleric at 15, a barbarian at 14, and I just leveled my sorcerer to 14. It's probable that my lack of a max level is due to playing so many alts and playing very slowly, but I am also really terrified of playing without friends.
See, my friends might play this game once a year... then they get bored and go back to their thing. I really want to keep playing it, but most of my characters can't do more than Hard difficulty in most quests because of traps, a general lack of knowledge and experience, or a somewhat unreliable hireling every now and then. I read guides and take spells on my characters like Resist Energy, Protection from Energy, anti-death spells/gear, Invisibility, various CCs, etc., but even then I only play on Hard if there aren't any traps.
Now, this is fine and all. I've come to accept that my characters who can't trap just don't have the ability. My problem is that it leaves me feeling so anxious that I have turned down so many requests to group with players because I have no idea what spells they expect me to have, how they expect for me to contribute, what I know about the quest on Elite, and if it looks like I know how to play my characters. Two days ago, i declined doing Eyes of Stone on Elite with a group that invited my Sorcerer, even though I've done that quest multiple times on my characters, because I'm just too scared to make mistakes.
I guess I should also mention that I have grouped with strangers twice in my entire time playing. The first time was on my cleric, doing some quest in Ataraxia's Haven. It went smoothly, but only because everyone else knew what they were doing. I just healed and hit Blade Barrier. Nearly died to stupid things. The second time was healing... whatever that raid in the Marketplace is with multiple tier levels, on my bard. That one I was the only healer, but I was a SS so I made it somehow.
Even considering my decent experiences, I'm still scared. So, I guess here are my questions:
- generally speaking, what do parties expect from random pugs? As a cleric, of course I expect to heal - that's why I have him - but am I expected to just contribute damage every now and then? Do I load myself up with every type of dispel and just play pure support? Are there buffs that every cleric needs to bring that I should be using without having to be asked? What about for a sorcerer? I take Haste and Rage on him, for example.
- I try to keep my gear up - I do a lot of House Cannith challenges because they're really fun, and I get decent gear from it. With that being said, are there certain gear expectations? I remember the Necropolis had that necklace you upgraded doing the quests there, which seems to be good against Beholders. I also remember, at least a while ago, there was that helmet you got from Shreds of Tapestry. I have tried researching more, and I hope I am not missing much, but how do I figure out exactly what I should be aiming for? I assume having every character with something to prevent instant kills is good, but what else should I bring?
- is it expected of me to have my own consumables? I keep spellpoint potions on my casters and healing potions on my barbarian, for example. Anything else I should have?
- finally... should I even be worried about this? I have basically soloed in lower end content in this game for years and generally did ok, but I figure I gotta group eventually in an MMORPG. Is it even bad in most groups?
Thank you for your time.