A reoccurring problem shows up on the EQ Live and community forums from time to time. Often it leads to lengthy and tiring debates about class balance or the inevitable doomsday prediction that Everquest is finally (after five years of inaccurate doomsday predictions) dead. This problem surrounds the single action of just about every player (except wizards): finding a group.
It seems these days like becomes more and more difficult to find a group. Perhaps this is a fact and perhaps it is simply perception. The release of LDON gave us the perfect period of time for finding a good hunting group. LDON progression took place in ninety minute periods, the LFG tool had been out for awhile, and LDON dungeons offered good experience and loot rewards in one place.
Since then, some find Omens and Gates to be less group-friendly. A larger level limit means players spread across a larger level spectrum. Some days it can take hours to find a good group with which to hunt and for those below 60, it can sometimes be impossible.
We still desire to group, however, and this guide gives you the tips you need to help yourself find and hunt in a group.
Step 1: Use the LFG tool
Though released years ago, many people still do not use the LFG tool. The LFG tool is perhaps the greatest tool to help players find and hunt in groups. Use the LFG tool often, use the comments to sell yourself above the others in your level bracket, announce the number of AAs you have, and use the LFG tool to start up your own hunting groups. Teach others to use the LFG tool and use it yourself when you need to fill in that one last spot. Only through a lot of use by a lot of people will the LFG tool help everyone find groups.
Step 2: Build Your Own Group
Instead of using your time LFG writing nasty board postings about the end of Norrath, use that time to build your own group. Ignore specific classes and instead pick from the four basic EQ architypes; healers, armor, crowd control, and damage dealers. Ignore that perfect group for a group of mixed classes that may teach you a thing or two about group composition. Use the LFG tool to find these new hunters. Have a destination and a plan to help people arrive. Pick a hunting area easy to get to. Keep the group moving and delay as little as possible. Above all, be nice to folks and remember that you're here to have fun with other players.
Step 3: Travel to the zone in which you wish to hunt
Sometimes people don't use the LFG channel when they seek a new member for their group. They often look in-zone to see who's nearby. Go to the zone in which you wish to hunt or go to the zone with the most characters around your level. Being local gives you a leg up on those who would need five to ten minutes of travel time to get a group.
Step 4: Be Familiar With The Lands
Use your time LFG by exploring the lands you wish to hunt in. Learn how to get from zone to zone. Use invis potions (or your native ability if you're lucky enough to have it) to help you learn how to get from zone to zone. Use the in-game map system and load it with new maps for the zones not included. The faster you can get from zone to zone, the more desirable you will be in a group. Waste not that time sitting on a rock waiting to get invited on a hunt, use it to learn of the lands around you.
Step 5: Advertise
Advertise yourself in a few different ways when you seek a group. Use the LFG tool mentioned above. Use "/ooc" to announce your desire for a group in a well-populated hunting zone of your level. Join large open channels on your server that may have group leaders seeking players. Join alliances that offer a pool of players around your level and a channel to find them in. When you get to a zone with a lot of full groups, send a tell to each group leader and ask to get on their list. Most groups will keep a list of players to join them, it is an old-school method of grouping we old fellas had to use before the LFG tool was out. It still helps today.
Step 6: Join a Grouping Guild
Seek out and join a guild of characters around your level that enjoy grouping. Many groups seek members of their own guild first; the larger the guild, the more likely members become available for a hunt. Seek a guild with the same desires as you and you will have an easier time finding a group.
Step 7: Experiment with Different Group Configurations
I mention this earlier, but experimenting with different group configurations may lead to wonderful results. I remember battling in Sebilis with five necromancers and a cleric. I have seen the strangest groups defeat amazing encounters. Ignore the stereotypes and grab any five people for a bit of fun. You may not end up victorious in the Muramite Proving Ground's hardest trials, but the results may surprise you.
Above all, take an active role in seeking a group. Finding a group can be hard work sometimes, especially at lower and mid levels. Don't despair, don't assume it's because you're class X and everyone seeks Class Y. Don't assume you need only one particular class and don't be afraid to experiment with strange group configurations. If you follow all of these steps and use all possible options to find a hunting group, you will have much better chances than simply putting up your LFG tag and watching reruns of Dynasty on the Tivo.
18 November 2004