You’ve been doing your dailies, gotten yourself a decent set of gear, and tooled around a bit with the new UI features. Keybinds in place, you gaze longingly at that Daily Hard Mode quest in your log, confident that you’re finally in a place where you can actually throw yourself at some real content. You head back to Fleet to find a group and then your heart sinks.
Nobody, not even the biggest fanboy, can deny the fact that the vast majority of server populations are woefully inadequate to do anything outside of lots of solo content and scheduled raiding. If you happen to play on the handful of “prime” servers like The Fatman you probably have a very different experience. I’ve heard tales of pick-up groups forming within minutes, of heroic quests actually being completed rather than just clogging up quest logs, and of PVP queues measured in seconds instead of hours. Fountains pour wine instead of water, every player has their own private Twi’lek slave dancer, and Han continues to shoot first to this day.
…or so I’ve been told.
Flashpoints take two things: gear and people. You’ve got the gear now, so how do you find the people? For many people, actually FINDING other players can be a far greater challenge than plugging in a handful of numbers into a spreadsheet to calculate your max DPS. Here are a few tips for turning SWTOR into the multiplayer game it was always intended to be.
Don’t use guild chat.
Seriously, just don’t do it. If you have the kind of guild where typing “Anybody want to do False Emp?” leads to a group forming, you have stumbled into the Shangri-La of guilds and should be prepared to leave your family back home and set up shop. For the rest of us plebians, guild chat is a dark vortex that sucks in potential groups and spits out bitter players. There may be 20 people having an active conversation about the latest episode of Mad Men, but the moment somebody asks about a group…dead silence. It’s the text equivalent of the entire town closing the shutters and hiding in the saloon when the outlaws ride into town.
This doesn’t mean nobody wants to do a flashpoint with you. It’s kind of like fishing. You can toss out some bait and sit there for hours, confident in your knowledge that a fish WANTS it and will come find it. Or you can buy a lure, something flashy enough to catch your prey’s attention and get them to come to you. Instead of just waiting in the corner to be asked to dance, you go out on the floor and ask.
Find other 50s in your guild and ask them directly! Whisper somebody who you’ve seen doing flashpoints before and ask them directly. Worst case scenario, they say no. If they can’t do it right now, maybe you set up a plan to do something later. You might even get lucky and find a new ally in your desperate hunt for gear, somebody who has also fallen victim to the jade lure of gchat.
Social media is the way of the future.
I was a seriously late adopter to Twitter. I refused to use it thanks to some shadowy principles I couldn’t actually define, but was quick to cite whenever asked. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I got off my ass and joined the 21st century and, oddly enough, I found that I was grouping way more as a result of it.
We’ve all been there. You want to play with your buddies but none of them are online and you’re not good enough friends to have swapped phone numbers or IM handles. All you can do is sit there like the family pet, staring at guild chat, tail wagging furiously whenever a car drives by or somebody signs on.
“Is that my tank? HI TANK DO YOU WANT TO…oh, just another Sentinel DPS. Wait, is THAT my tank?”
Instead of doing that, exchange social media information with all the people you regularly play with. Create a thread on your guild forums to swap Twitter handles or IM names. Find a low-impact way to communicate with your guild outside of the game.
Then, use it. Be specific about your goals and reference specific people. Post “Hey everybody, looking to form a group for Lost Island tonight, @tankbro want to come along?” @tankbro might be playing Diablo 3 because he also couldn’t find a group for Lost Island, so you very well could be making his day while he makes yours.
Friends with benefits.
When you finish a quest in a group, Bioware always asks if you would like to add the players to your friend list. Always. It could’ve been the worst experience you’ve ever had, but Bioware, like that one Mom on the playground, wants you to be friends.
Don’t be afraid to use your friend list. Do the Corellia Heroic 4 with a good tank or healer? Throw them on your list. Manage to finally get a group and have a good time with them? Announce at the end that you’ll be friending them all for future runs. You’d be surprised how often just saying it will prompt people to add you as well.
Remember that fishing analogy I made up there? It still holds true for this. People want to do flashpoints, they just don’t KNOW they want to do them. If you’re trying to form up a group and one of the tanks on your list is just sitting in the Fleet, toss them a whisper. You could get lucky! Even if they’re not interested in doing a full on flashpoint, maybe you can at least team up for dailies. Every person on your friend list is a potential ally just waiting for your call. Don’t be afraid to rally the troops and ride forth.
Using these basic tips you can form up groups for fun and profit with a minimal amount of effort.