Grouping with other players is an important aspect of Elder Scrolls Online, and is often necessary to complete group content. Unlike player guilds or friends, groups are temporary, character-bound, and (in PvP zones) Alliance-restricted. Grouping provides a 10% Experience bonus to everyone in the group. Each group has a leader, identified by a crown icon. Fellow group members can be identified by an arrow icon. Groups come in three sizes:
- Regular Groups consist of up to 4 players, and are needed to complete Group Dungeons, and Dragonstar Arena
- Medium Groups consist of up to 12 players, and are used in Trials
- Large Groups (informally known as "raids") can hold up to 24 players, and are primarily used for AvA battles in Cyrodiil
Once a group leader reaches Level 50 and unlocks Veteran content, the option to switch the group between Normal and Veteran mode becomes available. This option determines which version of a Group Dungeon (or Dragonstar Arena) the group enters. Group Dungeons also scale to the level of the group leader. The number of players in a group dictates the amount of experience received. A group of two actually receives bonus experience compared to solo play[verification needed], but the returns decrease as more players join.
The Grouping Tools tab allows players to passively look for a group to join. To join a group, you must select your preferred role(s) (Tank, Healer, Damage), if any. Group searches can be specified by listing which roles you're looking for, what size group you wish to join, what "activity type" (World, Alliance War, Dungeon, Veteran Dungeon, Trial) the group is for, and optionally the specific location of the activity.
Group and Activity Finder
The Group and Activity Finder is a special grouping tool for running Group Dungeons, sometimes referred to as "pick up groups" (PUGs). This is similar in nature to the Grouping Tools with some differences:
- One member will randomly designated as the group leader. This is purely cosmetic as this member has no more privilege than any other group member, e.g., they cannot kick out a group member. The dungeon and players will be battle-leveled to Level 50 160 regardless of the level of the leader.
- Kicking out a member is done by voting amongst the other members
- The group is automatically removed from the instance and members are sent back to where they came from at the completion of the dungeon. This is after a 2 minute delay to allow members to end quests and gather rewards.
Filling an Established Group
If you already formed a group using the Grouping Tools but are short one or two members, you can add your group to the Group & Activity Finder and it will fill the missing slots. In this case:
- The group leader does not change.
- Dungeon and players will be battle-leveled to the group leader.
- Kicking a member still requires a vote unless that member was in the original group.
NordSwordnBoard made a great analogy for these groups:
- PUGs are like talking to strangers on the subway;
- Most people want to be left alone to do their own thing
- Some people are stupid crazy and a waste of your time
- Some people are elitist and scoff at speaking to you
- Once in a while, you will find a kindred spirit, but it's rare. I guess that's what makes it so special when you do find a person that's cool. A group of 4 cool people? Possible, but not likely...