I thought I would expand a little bit on my experience with the difficulty of group content in WildStar.
But first, I don’t agree with Herding Cats that the overland quests are difficult enough to encourage grouping. They don’t seem inordinately challenging to me, at least through level 16. (Though I suppose it depends on which other MMO you compare them to.) They are not a cakewalk, mind you, and you will die if you slip up or get overwhelmed (or stumble into one of those stupid red-outlined mini-bosses), but if you pay attention to your surroundings and go through the mobs methodically there isn’t much to worry about. (However, the quests that are marked for 2+ people usually are too difficult for one.)
We’ve been told that Dungeons and Raids in WildStar will be harder than anything we’ve ever seen before, and we will fail at them and be laughed at and derided for being terrible gamers. At least that’s the impression Carbine gives, and that’s the image I had in my mind when I went into my first Adventure at level 15: That I would be pounded into the dirt and the group would wipe over and over and over again.
What I actually experienced was … not that difficult.
Granted I am talking about an “Adventure” here, not a “Dungeon” or “Raid.” (Presumably an Adventure is slightly more friendly than a “Dungeon,” because it’s got adventure right there in the title.) And I would say that it was probably more difficult than the first instances in, say, Rift, FFXIV, and certainly WoW. (The first dungeon in WoW can probably be done with 5 blindfolded keyboarders.)
Still, my very first Adventure PUG waltzed through the instance with little or no difficulty, despite me having no instructions and no clue what to expect and weighing everyone down like a 50-ton anchor. We wiped one time when the tank died. We were being attacked by a huge group of mobs and I was standing there plugging away at enemies when suddenly they all attacked me and I died, at which point I noticed that everyone else had also died. But after rezzing we came back a minute later and had no trouble. Other than that incident, I only saw one other guy die when he didn’t avoid some spotlights or something.
The rest of the instance was just tank and spank: Follow the tank, then shoot whatever he shoots. We never had to coordinate anything. Maybe we had an awesome over-leveled tank or something, but I never felt threatened. (Except for the anxiety I felt from constantly running to catch up with everyone.)
My second PUG went similarly. That one wiped two or three times, though. It’s hard to remember because it only takes a few seconds to get back into things after a wipe. (Which is awesome.) I don’t remember what caused any of those wipes because I was too busy trying to decipher the horrible nameplates to see what everyone else was doing. I just know it wasn’t my fault. :)
It makes me think that Carbine is over-selling the difficulty of their instanced content on purpose. Sort of a reverse-psychology thing. “Our content is so impossible you’ll never finish it! Only the most elite of the elite dare enter!” Most gamers are going to jump on it to prove they are more awesome than anyone else. Then they’ll feel special when they beat the “impossible” content, but in reality the content is just average. Well, it’s a theory.
One thing I noticed in groups is that the mechanics of the holy trinity felt very loose to me. Not the non-existent chaos of GW2, and not quite as frenzied as ESO, but not as well-defined as your Rifts, FFXIVs, or WoWs either. As a DPS, I felt like there were times that I was on my own. It was never clear who the tank was tanking, or even where he was. (It was very easy to track where the Medics were, though, since they throw out green telegraphs and loud beeping yellow balls constantly.)
The worst thing about the Adventures is WildStar’s godawful nameplates. Dead mobs on the ground still have nameplates, so when new mobs spawn in the same place, you can’t see them! Come on! Time to look for a nameplate addon I guess.
Oh, the other bad thing about Adventures is how much experience you get. If you do a handful of Adventures you’ll outlevel your zone in a blink.