Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Abusing the LFG Tool

I love the new LFG tool in World of Warcraft. It's been a godsend and helped erased the memory of Blizzard's past failures to make grouping easier. The reworking of the daily dungeon quests plays a big role in it's popularity, but I like to think it adds a lot of functionality to the game besides just being an emblem farming tool. I'm sure we'll see the majority of players make use of it when leveling up new worgen/goblin characters in the next expansion. The only problem I have with the LFG tool is that the unbalanced queue times for DPS classes are causing some issues. I understand that Healing and Tanking are the less popular roles in the MMO trinity and I don't really have a problem with them finding groups faster.

The problem is that I'm starting to see a trend of Healers and Tanks treating pick up groups as disposable commodities. The instant queue times seem to encourage some players to automatically drop group at the first sign that the heroic won't be complete in 20 minutes. Usually, everyone in a random pick up group has a high enough gear score that a normal heroic is joke. However, every now and then you get someone new to their class and they might slow things down a few minutes. I was running Azjol-Nerub and a hunter's pet accidently pulled Hadronox before the giant spider could web the entrances. No biggie, easy dungeon and it was the first problem in the run. However, the healer chose to berate the hunter for being an idiot and then left after the hunter claimed it was just an accident. Damn back to another 15 minute queue.

It's even worse when you get one of the newer dungeons since players can still be farming a specific item off the first or second boss. It no longer surprises me when the tank or healer sudden abandons group in the middle of the Pit of Saron or the Halls of Reflection. It only happens about 10% of time but, it's one of the most annoying things in the game. Also most players don't know you get put in the top of the queue when finding a replacement. Thus most of the DPS will leave right away after someone drops from the group. I once had a friend tanking in Halls of Reflection and he accidentally disconnected after the first boss. Everone abandoned ship so fast I didn't even have time to type in "he just DC, will brb". Players are just starting to grow use to this behavior.

I'm not that worried about this trend right now when most people are overly geared for heroics. However, it might start becoming a major issue in the expansion when player's can't just breeze through dungeons. I play a paladin and a shaman which thankfully means I have access to instant queue times. However, warlocks, rogues, mages, and hunters can only DPS and are really hurt by a dungeon group being broken up early. I'm not sure what Blizzard can do to fix the issue, but it's becoming obvious that these classes will gear up at a much slower rate. The only real way to avoid the problem is to queue up for dungeons with a friend who plays a tank or healer.


Jacob said...

My initial trite reply is "Blizzard should find a way to make tanking or healing more appealing, so more people play those roles."

However, I realize it's not as easy as that. Tanking and healing are high-visibility, high-risk roles, that require more focused game play than dps requires. You have to play well, and small errors are quickly visible.

If the tank gets distracted and doesn't pick up an incoming patrol, people will die and blame the tank. If the healer gets distracted for 5 seconds at a bad time, people will die and blame the healer. DPS are occasionally pressured with "burn phases" to try to force them to pay attention, but if any one dps player gets distracted, the other two can probably cover the slack.

If the thing keeping people away from tanking or healing is the pressure from being in a high-visibility role, what can be done? Throwing extra rewards at people probably wouldn't work.

Dorgol said...

I dunno, in my opinion the faster queue IS appealing enough for me to switch to tanking.

I haven't tried tanking anything on my warrior since UBRS back in vanilla, but right now I'm running heroics (with a 15 minute queue) to collect prot gear and badges with my ultimate goal being the ability to tank.

So maybe it does work...? :)

Christopher D. said...

4 classes can tank
4 classes can heal
4 classes can ONLY dps

The long wait time generally comes from hybrid classes that restrict themselves to dps. Healers, I can understand... but tanking is fairly fun, and easy to level with (if you can get the right gear). Sure, you kill mobs slower, but you can kill 4-5 at a time.

As a healer, you either need to be very well adjusted to your class, or have dual spec to effectively solo. But if you are leveling in dungeons, you shouldn't find yourself solo that often.

If more people were to change to tanks and healers, a few things would happen. First, it would lower the dps queue times. Second, if enough people switched, it would make the tank / healer queues longer... and maybe they wouldn't be as quick to bail.

That said, I use the debuff you get from joining the group (15 mins) as a timer for the group. If the timer runs out and we are not making much progress, don't be suprised if I drop out to try again.

Rochmoninoff said...

Two words: rogue tank

Relmstein said...

Based on the number of people leaving PUG groups early it wouldn't suprise me if Blizzard implemented a change to how the debuff timer worked. Perhaps make it so it refreshed if you left a group early.

The better way to deal with the problem would be to encourage hybrid classes to try out tanking. But that's a hard issue to tackle.

Cap'n John said...

At 40 I bought the Dual Talent ability from my Pally Trainer and respec'd from Ret to Prot. After soloing SFK to get used to my new abilities and learn exactly what I'd be doing as a Tank I jumped into an RFD PUG and did alright. Then I Tanked Uldaman and Maraudon and really had a blast.

While soloing I switched back and forth between my two Specs and I like that I can switch on the fly, as long as I have a chance to eat, drink & reapply buffs. I also discovered that while Ret naturally beats Prot for single-target DPS, pulling 5-7 Melee Mobs as Prot and Consecrate/Holy Shielding them to death is not only a lot more fun, but it's almost as fast. As Prot I can kill 5-7 Mobs in almost the same time as killing 1-3 while Ret. So now I'm leveling as Prot, even while soloing, it's just crazy not to.