You've all seen it. You may have even experienced it. An MMORPG where you have no reason or incentive to team up with anyone unless you're doing some long, massive raid, effectively turning the game into more of a "Massively Single-player Online RPG" than anything. In games like that, teammates tend to be more of a hassle than anything; no intuitive way to find team-ups, and if someone actually DOES join, it doesn't make much of a difference. If it's more convenient in an MMO to solo most of the time rather than team up, it's pretty obvious that something has gone wrong at the most fundamental level.
When I was playing City of Heroes, I NEVER felt that way. CoH was one of those games where you could be minding your own business and someone could send you a team invite and next thing you know you're running through the halls of a secret lab with your own little group of ragtag Avengers blowing mad Crey scientists to smithereens.
With the way things are in the MMO market today, though, it'll probably take more than just the ability to team up to get people to actually play together. People are, for some reason, becoming more and more isolated even inside their own games. I have confidence that the developers of City of Titans are working on ways to change that, but even so, I'd like to share some of my own ideas for ways we can encourage players to team up with each other more.
Note that none of these are demands, or even full-fledged suggestions. They honestly need to be ironed out a bit more before any serious thought would be given to them, but I still think they'd be good points of reference for people to look at.
1. LFT Button and Team Search
Some modern MMOs do in fact have a "looking for team" option of some sort (I think), but City of Heroes' always seemed to work the best from my personal experience. Part of the reason seems to be because these other MMOs rarely have a feature that allow you to browse people who have tagged themselves as looking for teams from wherever you are. This was a brilliant design choice that I still can't believe most other MMOs aren't taking advantage of, and definitely should be present in some way in CoT.
2. XP Bonuses
I recently had an idea that involved a system where each member of the team gets an XP boost that increases slightly for each member added to the team as a whole. You'll get more XP for running a mission with a full group than just by yourself or with one partner. I've noticed that some games actually do something that could be considered the exact opposite of this, and to me that seems almost like penalizing players for grouping rather than soloing, which honestly doesn't really make much sense in a game genre that revolves around teamwork anyway. Of course, I'm not a professional game designer, so there probably is some good reason that no one's done anything like this that I'm not noticing.
3. Teamwork Buffs
This is an idea that came to me recently that seemed rather interesting. Perhaps there could be unique "Teamwork Buffs" that each archetype can bestow upon other archetypes for teaming with them. For example, if a "Blaster" equivalent teams up with a "Scrapper" equivalent, the Blaster will get an accuracy buff while the Scrapper gets a speed buff, or if a "Controller" and "Tanker" team up, the controller gets a defense buff while the tank gets crowd control, "Defenders" give a max HP increase to everyone on the team etc. It should be noted these do not stack, and instead are there to mostly encourage teams with varied ATs in game.
So these are just a few ideas... Come to think of it now that I'm actually writing this down I can think of several ways the last two could end in disaster... But again, this is mostly just a brainstorming post.
Everyone else, feel free to discuss your ideas on how to encourage more teamwork in the game!