This thread came out of some stuff in my blog. Here's a jennifer decription:

The few PUGs I had going into an instance were just awful. (Grouping hasn't been nearly as bad... but instances?) I remember the time I went to do my pally quest, to get either the ore or the hammer out of the horde Keep, and I joined with two other pallies showing up to do the same thing, and we wiped at least five or six times just trying to get the item, which really is near the beginning of the instance. They just were not very good players, not responsive to requests, didn't communicate well, triggered far too much aggro, and didn't even know how to use pally powers to work together -- I don't group much but still could easily see how teamed pallies could use different auras and blessings in order to maximize their abilities. I was shocked when we wiped after one or both of them got the item (I was nice and took it last)... and they actually didn't just kick out and did a corpse run to come back to help me.

Then again, I am guessing they were only 15-16 years old, based on how they behaved... sooooo... maybe I was expecting too much from the average player of that age.
I've had similar experiences in world of warcraft, and also in guild wars where a lot of people seem to have little understanding of what to do when in a group. Other people have also had similar experiences (on other forums, I don't talk about these types of computer games in real life.)

I'm not sure about how other MMORPGs are, but it does seem strange how in these two a lot of people have trouble figuring out what they need to do to work well with other characters in these areas. Instances and groups, in theory, will be a lot more fun when people can actually kill the creatures on the map, and get the items they're looking for, rather than running back to dead bodies, doing the area over, etc., and that would seem to give some motivation to try to work together well. It also seems that people would, at some point, notice how things like monster aggro work, when creatures tend to run away, when they do the most damage, etc., and rplay accordingly, but it doesn't seem to happen.

I'm not sure why a lot of grouping seems to be so bad, but here are a few guesses:

1. In world of warcraft (not sure about others), a lot of the playing is done solo, where aggro isn't an issue, and where doing lots of damage is more useful (for speed). It's likely that when a lot of people join groups, they keep that playstyle without noticing that it doesn't work well in groups.

2. A lot of people are pretty much playing to not have to think, just to go and kill some stuff, so don't really focus on actually working well in a group. (The same goes for not planning out the time it will take to finish an instance in world of warcraft.)(This is what I assume is the biggest issue in the groups I've been with, since it explains the most.)

3. Sort of a combination, some people may be playing for the damage, and not for the healing, crowd control, spell interruption, tanking, etc. and as a result don't worry about these parts of playing in a group.

Any other guesses/ideas for how these types of group playing tend to work?