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Posted On: September 26th, 2009
Posted By: Tolero

As you’re wandering around Eberron, it won’t take you long to notice something a little new that’s come to the game since relaunch: talking! Now that people are actually able to talk to the whole region they’re in plus the dungeons, chitter chatter in DDO Unlimited is a constant. I remember getting a lot of comments from coworkers on other teams about how “quiet” DDO Stormreach players were.  I’d have to explain that they do talk… just in party chat. They’d form a group, get on the mic, and be happy. And back then, who would want to text chat to general when only the people in your particular instance could see it? If you were in a tavern, the odds that anyone would be in the tavern for long enough to talk to were slim - most were grabbing a drink after a resurrection, selling some things to the barkeep, and then running back out to dive into the dungeon again. That’s changed now, and even I find that in the middle of questing I’ll stop to make a comment if I see something of interest in chat scrolling by.

However, there’s one other thing you’ll see in the chat channels now: people forming groups. Spend about 2 minutes watching and you’ll see a constant hum of
[Somebody] “rogue LFG”
[Somebody else] “Need more for tangleroot”
[Some other person] “Can someone help me finish the last part of stk?”

New players beware! There’s a better way to form and join groups than the chat channels! Is that to say you “shouldn’t” use chat channels to fill your groups? No! But you need to know about a very important game feature to increase the odds of finding those extra group members more quickly, and with less pain: the Social panel! (You can learn more aboutgrouping at if you don’t want to hear old Tolero rambling about the group panel. Vainangel also has a nice picture tutorial as well!)

Before I introduce you to the Social panel, let’s talk about the pros and cons of using chat to fill groups.

How Chat Works

The first things to understand are the advantages (and disadvantages) of chat based group forming. When you use the general chats, they are visible to those who are in the same region as you. It includes all of the taverns, dungeons, and sub-spaces of that region. So for example, if you’re in Harbor instance 1 and say something in general chat, all of the following people can hear you:

  • People who are in Harbor 2, Harbor 3, Harbor 4, Harbor 5, Harbor 6… you get the idea
  • People who are questing in the waterworks, cerulean hills quests, irestone inlet, and any other quest that has an entrance from the Harbor
  • People who are inside the Wayward Lobster, the potion shop, the Leaky Dinghy, etc

This also means you’re very likely to be seen by players who are in the right level range to you or doing similar quests as you.

But you know who can’t hear you? People in the Marketplace; players on Korthos Island; anyone in House Deneith etc. You’re only visible to the people who are in the Harbor region. Maybe you were typing that you’re looking for a rogue to deal with some traps, but by the time you typed your sentence, a Rogue just crossed into the Marketplace - and he totally would have grouped with you - but now he can’t see your message. Could you run from zone to zone looking for group members? Sure, but that’s a lot of leg work, and this method means you might miss themwhen you switch zones if they respond in chat rather than a private tell to you. And what are you supposed to do if you’re in the middle of your dungeon but need more players? Not to mention, people who are questing themselves might not be watching general chat at all. If they’re looking for groupies they’re highly likely to be checking the Social panel themselves. This is why the Social panel is so important for you!

The Social Panel

The Social panel is a tool that is specifically used to form and join groups. To access it, you can use the O key on your keyboard, or just click on the face icon of your menu bar (it’s the 6th icon on the bar). Here you’ll see several different features that can help you join and form your groups. The advantage this offers over chat is that anyone from anywhere on your server is able to see it. So when you’re looking for a rogue, maybe that 20th level paladin twiddling his thumbs in Shavarath will see your group request and log in his rogue alt.

There are 4 tabs in the Social panel: Grouping, Guild, Friends, and Who. We’ll talk about the Friends & Guild tabs first before we dig into the meat of the Grouping and Who tabs.

Friends & Guilds

These are very natural ways to get candidates for grouping with you. By adding someone to your friends list, you can see a lot about your friend to help you know whether they’re free to play with you. You can see:

  • When they’re online
  • Their race, class, and level
  • What guild they currently belong to
  • If they’re already in a group or not

The guild tab allows you to see similar information about your fellow guildmates, including what region of the game they’re currently in. Belonging to a guild is another great way of finding group members because your guildies may have an alt that they wouldn’t mind switching to in order to fill your group.

Friends and guilds are excellent for forming groups because these players share a common goal with you or like to be around you, and often will go out of their way to lend a helping hand. This often includes helping you complete quests! But what if your guildies are busy and none of your friends are online? The Grouping and Who tabs are a good place to turn to!

The Grouping Tab

The Grouping tab is a very powerful tool for forming and joining groups. In this tab is a list of everyone who is looking for more players for their group across your entire server. That’s right, whether they’re in the Tower of Despair raid or the Wavecrest Tavern on Korthos, you can view their group request. You can see what level range they’re looking for, who all is currently in the group, what quest they’re doing, and what classes they’re looking for too. Groups that you meet the requirements of will be highlighted;  if you only want to see the groups your eligibile for you can turn off visiblity for groups you don’t qualify for. If you want to join their group, click on the group to highlight it, and then click the “join” button to send a request to the group leader that you’d like to join. If they accept your request, they’ll add you to their group. Maybe you have a question first? You can click the tell button to send them a message before you send a group join request.

If you’re a free player, you can even see if the quest they are doing is part of an adventure pack that you don’t own or not. If you don’t yet have the adventure pack, you’ll see a “buy now” button. Clicking on this button will take you to the DDO Store where you can buy the adventure pack with Turbine Points if you want to.

How To Create LFMs

So you’ve watched the Grouping tab for a little bit but you’re still not seeing any groups forming that you’d like to join. Why not start a group of your own? By using the “create party” button at the bottom of the grouping tab, you’ll be given many options to help you get the people you need in your group.

By default the “create party” button begins with all options marked. To narrow down the scope of your request (after all if you’re level 2 you probably don’t want to group with the level 20s typically), start putting in the make up of your group. Click on the class icons to show what classes you want in your party (a green checkmark means you want that class in your group). Specify what level range you want in your group - remember you can group with people higher and lower level than you! Next specify what quest you want to do by clicking on the name of the quest in the dungeon list. You can even specify if you want to do normal, hard, or elite difficulty. If you have any more requirements that don’t quite fit the other choices, you can type those in the comment box (such as if you were planning on running an entire adventure pack, or looking for roleplayers, or even just saying that it’s your first time doing the quest and you want a knowledgable player for the group). When you’re happy with the results and you’re ready to start accepting group requests, click on the “Advertise as looking for more players” check box. Now all you need to do is wait for the join requests to roll in. As your party starts to fill up, you may want to tweak your group request - maybe now you don’t need a rogue, you just want a tank of some kind. Re-open your request by using the social panel’s grouping tab again, and clicking the “create party” button again. Make the needed changes and then click “Update My Party”

You can close the social panel while you wait for group requests. As you get requests you’ll see a message in your chat that someone wants to join your group. There are a couple ways you can accept a group request.

  • Want to watch your join request queue in real time? Click on the “Join Requests” button to create a smaller window that will list anyone who is trying to join your group. Click their name and then the “accept” button to add them to your party. This is handy for questing because you don’t have to dig up the grouping panel again, you can just watch your queue and accept as you go.
  • Whenever you have your create party window open the same queue is displayed there too, and the accept/decline/tell buttons are available there as well
  • A quick and dirty way of accepting their request is to type their name out with an invite request: /invite [name]
    The trouble with this method is that their join request will still sit in your queue even after they join your group because you never accepted/declined their join request, you bypassed it by sending a direct invite. But in the heat of the moment this option will work, and once your group is full it will automatically send a “decline” to all join requests in your queue.

Now you can sit back, cast your line, and hope the grouping fish nibble it, or you can take a more proactive approach to increase the odds of people joining your group. Or what if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to be the party leader, you just want to be in a group. This is where the Who tab comes into play.

The Who Tab & You!

The Who tab is a list of everyone who is on the server (unless they’re anonymous, which hides their name from the Who list). When you open this tab you can see the names, races, classes, locations, and group status of other players. This can be a pretty bulky list, so for your own sanity I highly recommend turning on some of the filters available in this tab to narrow down the number of names screaming across your screen.

If you’re looking for other players who are also looking for a group, I highly recommend clicking the “Show me only players looking for group” check box. This will filter your list down to only those players who are interested in joining a party, including any comments they have about what kind of group they’re looking to be in. If you’re forming a party, you’ll want to use the Who list to speed up the process of filling out your group. Some players will flag themselves as looking for a group while they’re busy doing other things. Sending them a message or invite directly, instead of waiting for them to find you, makes things go a lot faster.

If you’re the one who’s looking to join a group, marking yourself as looking for group is one more way of finding a party to join. As you’re browsing the Grouping tab for groups to join, towards the bottom of the grouping tab click on the “I am looking for a party” check box. Now your name in the Who list will be marked with the “looking for group” icon, and people will see you when they filter their lists down. If you’re looking for a certain kind of group, type that in the comment line and click the “update” button. Now not only will they see you’re looking for group, but what kind of group you’re looking for.  This is very handy for when you’re doing other things and don’t have the grouping list up all the time. You may have missed that their group is forming while you were binding your equipment at the Stone of Change, but because you marked yourself as looking for group, they didn’t miss you and they’re sending you a group invite!

Which Method Should You Use?

So here’s a trivia question for those of you who like to play in groups:

Which method should you use to find/join groups
A) The Who list
B) Chat
C) The Grouping tab
D) Your guildies
E) Your friends

Answer: It’s a trick question - you should use ALL OF THE ABOVE!

No seriously, you really should use all of these methods to find/join groups. For me, I have an order I do it in. First I look at my friends list and ask if they want to join my group. If I don’t get enough takers there, I turn to my guild chat/guild list. Still not what I need? Then I glance through the grouping list. If I don’t see what I want immediately, I tag myself as looking for a group. If I’m in more of a hurry, I start the group and hunt for members in the who list. And if by the time I’ve gone through all of these methods I’m still short handed, I’ll put a message in the general chat to see if I get any takers.

Think of it like fishing - using only one is like casting a single fishing line in the ocean. You might catch a fish, but it may or maynot be the fish you want to keep, and you have fewer chances for multiple fish. Using all of these methods is like casting a net in the ocean - you’re much more likely to bring in the fish you’re looking for, more of them, and more quickly.


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