Bashiok on "Encouraging People to Play Together"

Bashiok recently posted quite a few responses to some questions that were raised by members on the forums in regards to Blizzard encouraging people to play games together rather than going off on single-player missions.

"The distance limitation you're speaking of in being considered an active participant already exists in the game.

The item benefit of playing together is due partly to the per-player item drops, but also increase in items-per-minute ratio due to groups killing faster than a single player. The amount of items dropping with each additional player is slightly higher than if those players were to just play in their own games. Now, that's slightly deceiving because we're talking about the entire pool of drops, but actually each player sees and receives an equal portion, so in this case we're looking at the drops as if they were shared completely freely within the group. This may not be the case for all items or groups.

Still, if you have three friends and you're all buddy-buddy with each other and sharing everything, the benefit of playing together for item drops is noticeable. If you're all being very stingy and not sharing anything, or just throwing out the crap, you'll still see a slight increase just from killing speed.

But anyway, with all that in mind, there is already of course a distance limit in which you'll be considered an active participant in a monster kill to be able to receive a drop from it. If you're out of range and someone in your party kills something, you don't get a drop from it. It's a very obvious solution to deal with a very obvious issue. The range is fairly forgiving.

So instead our focus turns to helping groups help themselves through various mechanics to keep everyone together. But those are specifics for another time though."
He then went on to respond to more user questions:

"By the sounds of it, being an "active participant" simply means you have to be within a close proximately of the monsters on death, but that does not mean that you will actually need to help in any way, shape, or form in killing it."

"If you did need to damage every enemy in order to get a drop from it we would essentially be requiring all players who wanted to play in groups build their characters for AoE damage. It would then be enforcing the exact opposite of teamwork. Everyone would be going crazy trying to do as much damage to as much as possible so they could try to get a drop off of it.

We could then rename the game to Antithesis of Fun."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the exact same thing that is happening in Diablo II baal runs, where there are 1 or 2 Hammerdins killing everything and the rest of the players is composed of leechers doing nothing more than picking up the drops?"

"There's nothing wrong with the idea of friends running other friends through the game. Have a friend with a higher level character? Cool, have him help you through the game if you want. That doesn't mean we won't have some limitations or slight impedances, for instance we probably wouldn't want it to figure out to be the best way to level, but the general idea of friends helping friends is a positive aspect and something we want to retain as best as possible."
"The problem I personally have is just those that do nothing but leech, or the players that do absolutely nothing to contribute to the party but is shared equally in the rewards. Again, the example of baal runs in Diablo II comes to mind. In baal runs, we often see AFK naked characters wielding nothing but Ondal's Wisdom for the 5% to Experience Gained sitting in the corner or within that distance that you were talking about for Diablo III inorder to "earn" the rewards without actually doing anything. Sometimes they are not even AFK, so they run around and pick up the drops, and again, this sounds like it could be done in Diablo III, with or without bots. Maybe it's just me, but I have never thought that leeching or having leechers follow me around all day doing nothing but picking up the loot from my kills was a whole lot of fun."

"Players joining your games that do something to annoy you will always be a problem as long as you allow them to. So really the simple solution here is to not play in publicly open games.

But, from a game feature side, it sounds like what you're actually asking for are game moderation options. Such as the ability for the game creator or game participants to kick, ban, squelch, etc. And maybe those are some possibilities, maybe, but they themselves could easily be turned around and used as griefing tools themselves.

There are solutions. I don't think it's a problem that warrants a lot of time at the moment though."
So what do you guys think about all of these group play issues? Let's hear your opinions!


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