Secret Design of WoW PvE: Solo Difficulty vs Group Difficulty

The series: [Introduction, and a call for comments, Solo Difficulty vs Group Difficulty, PvE vs PvP, Variety vs Specialization, Solo Performer vs Group Utility, Your role in a PvE raid]

Your ability to solo partially determines the experience you'll have in groups. If you have an easy time in the leveling game, you are going to have a more difficult experience in the endgame/group game. The following list goes from easy-to-solo to hard-to-solo.

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Max level does not mean Skilled

(Related post: Raiding does not mean Skilled)

World of Warcraft, and every game like it, is really two different games. I first read this thought at Penny Arcade (can't find where because their search function is weak). Basically, you have the levelling game where you start at L1 and then play until max level (currently L70), and then the game that happens after the levelling game, which is filled with group activities of all sorts as you improve your max level character.

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Game Riding Shotgun

What happens when you've got two gamers (me and my wife) who can't play a game together, but you both want to play? Someone rides shotgun. This can be due to the game being single-player, or more recently, due to the need for someone to hold an infant.

The person who rides shotgun doesn't have to focus on controls or the repetitive tasks that take up a lot of time on gaming. They focus on the big picture, missed details, and so on. If the game is something you're both interested in, you combine to become something of a superplayer. For example, I can't spot those hidden flags in Assassin's Creed for the life of me, but she'll pick out one that's under a pile of hay, which is itself under a tarp… three miles away, through dense fog, around the corner. She spots the tiny corner of that flag, and we get closer to completing the game. In Pixeljunk Monsters, I point out that she tends to stand next to mobs, waiting for them to die, when she could be three steps away, upgrading a tower while she waited. And we get closer to getting a rainbow on that level. (Yes, you can play PJM with two players–and we often do–but when I get home from work and she's playing, I don't say, "Drop that and let's play together." I fix myself a drink.)

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