On Saturday, I took my level 20 Hobbit hunter on a little adventure north of the Bree fields. I ran around shooting various critters (boars and bears) and kill off wolves for the next racial skill. I mined a lot and picked up various food items on the ground for a friend of mine that cooks. This unstructured time was really enjoyable. I had no goals to attain. I just ran around and goofed off. I explored ruins, got a lot of crafting mats, killed stuff and was having a lot of fun being a Hobbit in Middle Earth.
Sunday was the opposite of Saturday in many ways. It started with me on my hunter doing the same stuff as Saturday, but that was over quickly since I had real life things to take care of. When I logged back in, I came back as my human Guardian (currently level 23). I got together with my guild mates and we figured out that most of us had quests in the Lone Lands to take care of. So myself, a Burglar (level 24) and a Lore-master (level 19) went and went to the Forsaken Inn.
Our first stop was the set of ruins northeast of the Inn to get a drop for a crafting quest for our Lore-master. Once we got that, we entered the ruins to kill off the boss. There we met another group of two and a third person who also needed the boss. So we all joined forces and killed the boss and his four goons. Several people noticed a chest in the area, so they went for it. Then the boss and his goons respawned and we killed them again. Another chest spawn (or perhaps the original hadn’t been looted yet) and we had to kill the boss and his goons a third time. In the end we all ran away (someone eventually did get the chest) so we wouldn’t have to keep killing him.
We fought our way into the goblin stronghold near the Forsaken Inn but we had some set-backs getting close to the boss, so we left the area. We ran into another player beside the npc for an escort quest and did the quest with him. We goofed around some more until our Lore-master decided to call it a night. The Burglar and I went to kill elite Dourhand Dwarves for axes.
The combination of structured and unstructured time in-game kept things enjoyable. Perhaps I could have gotten my Guardian up to level 25 this weekend had I not “wasted” so much time on Saturday goofing off with my hunter. But chances are, if I had done that, I would not likely return to my Guardian for a bit from being burned out playing him. The only time “wasted” in a game is time where you’re not having fun.
The grouping scenarios this weekend also got me thinking about ways grouping could be implemented to make it more flexible. I think it would be cool if they could put in a system where a group could get grouped with another group to complete a quest without one of the groups disbanding. Like if a group of two meets up with a group of three and they all want to run a quest. One group invites the other and they all become one group. When the quest is over, the invited group can leave and split back into their original group of two. Such a system would make grouping a tad more hassle-free for those of us that like hanging around with a couple of friends to complete quests and run into other people doing the same thing.