Thursday, October 29, 2009

The new dungeon system – first impressions

Many bloggers have been sceptic towards the incoming cross-realm LFG system, fearing that the increased anonymity when you don’t have your realm reputation to care about will bring out the worst in people. It will be the paradise for ninjas.

Others – like me – have been, if not overly positive, at least curious about the possibilities it could offer.

The picture of what to expect has become clearer the last few days, as Blizzard has put up some information about the changes here and in some questions and answers, which you can find at MMO-Champion. Of course it remains to see how it will work in reality, but here are my initial reactions. I’ll start with the good stuff, then talk about the promising, but maybe questionable features, and finally tell you what made me disappointed.

1. Instant teleporting to the instances will be a huge relief.
Violet Hold has been one of my favourite instances for long, not only because I’ve loved the timed scripts ever since Black Morass, but mainly because of the location. No more flights across the whole continent, lasting forever! I just have to remember to get my coffee on beforehand, now that the brb-break while transporting will be gone. And the possibility to teleport back to the instance if you’ve had to take your hs to repair, get some reagents or an extra gear set from the bank – that’s just awesome, even though it will leave warlocks with less work to do.

2. Bringing back the LFG channel for realm pugs is basically a good idea.
You can keep an eye on what groups are looking for more people, without having to actively make yourself available in the LFG tool. But what I fail to understand is why you only can access this channel from the major cities and not from anywhere in Azeroth.

Finding a pug can take quite a while, at least if you’re a dps class. What am I supposed to do in the meanwhile, dragging my feet around the city? Is this why they’ve put the fountain in Dalaran for us to fish in? Can they please at least throw in some usable salmons in that case? I want to be able to DO something while I’m looking for a group. Grinding for rep, fishing other stuff than coins, farming herbs, whatever.

I don’t want to be imprisoned for hours in the major cities with nothing to do but watching the stupidity in /trade.

3. The matching system looks promising.
Trying to group up people at the same gear level is a good idea and will definitely prevent some pug annoyance. It’s less likely that some players will feel that they’re “carrying” freshly dinged level 80 strangers or that overgeared dps will face serious threat issues because of an imbalance towards the tank.

The idea to also try to match the experiences from different players is ambitious, but leaves me a bit wondering. They say that they will match “at least one experienced player for the assigned dungeon with less experienced players in the group”. While it’s a beautiful idea that experienced players will share their knowledge with newcomers, I’m not so sure they want it forced upon them.

Having a group where no one has experience before isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be quite a pleasure when you’re figuring out an instance together, each one pulling his own weight, no one expected to help the others through.

And if you on the other hand have experience and very little time at your hands, you might prefer to get an all-experienced group to get a quick run. Mix the groups might be good, but not always.

4. More power to the people!
The vote-kick feature is interesting as a social engineering. Imagine you’ve been tossed together in a group with a leader who turns out to be a jerk. You can make a mutiny and kick him! That’s amazing.

On the other hand, I can imagine how hard you can take it if you get kicked by a vote-kick and think that it isn’t justified. Being kicked by one jerk of a leader is something you can cope with. It was one stupid guy, right? Being kicked after a vote the group tastes a bit like bullying to me. I may be exaggerating this though, being a bit of a carebear.

What I wonder though is if it ALWAYS will take four votes for a kick? Will the leader of a cross-realm pug be deprived of the privilege to kick whatever member he wants to? I haven’t found any clear information on this yet.

5. And finally the Big Disappointment.
The feature I hoped for most of all, cross-realm Looking for Raid, won’t come in the 3.3 patch. The dungeon tool will be restricted to five man instances.

This sucks for players like me who log on after 10 pm friday or saturday nights, too late to join the guild 10 mans, and often too late to find a 10 man pug on the realm. Most players just seem to start playing earlier, not waiting for their kids to go to bed. Their raiding is a way to start the night, before they go out to party with their real life friends, while for me it’s a way to end the night before I go to bed.

With more realms to pick from, I think I might have been able to find a 10 man pug at midnight. Now this won’t happen anytime soon, according to Blizzard.

PS: Another disappointment is of course that you won't be able to handpick players from other realms. This means that reuniting temporarily with lost friends or trying out possibel cross-realm recruits won't be possible. To be honest I hadn't expected it either. It was just some wishful thinking from my side.


Renald said...

New system looks great! So great in fact, that I wonder how we will make friends when it will go live.

I know at least of one good guild, which started as Deadmines PUG. I met many great people in dungeons. Some were good players, some were funny, smart and talkative. Or simply joy to be around. I wonder, how I get to know them now? It's already bit hard with heroics lasting 15-30 mins, but better than nothing.

Guilds will have Looking For Raid tool to pick up random people for their offnight raids and recruit from them. Roleplayers can make rp connections (although these sometimes aren't that useful when you need trusted tank). But how average player, who isn't guilded or on rp server will make friends now? Suggestions welcome.

Dw-redux said...

one of my worries (beeing in a ralm group with german speaking ralms) is, will I end up with 3 guys who can't understand a word im saying - and pretty much all i can do in german is swear and order beer... hmm maybe it'll work :)

Dw-redux said...

Also: I've not seen anything about class balance.
Could you get a 5 paladin run for example? that would be less than ideal (even if the speccs are right)

Renald said...

DW-redux: It will probably work like BG's so no people from different language realm in your group. Also, while 5 paladins or druids would be inferior, they still will be perfectly able to complete dungeon quickly and efficiently, considering that they are pretty much tuned for freshly dinged 80s with leveling blues.

Stabs said...

You will still have some power against ninjas.

If you ignore them they can't get assigned to your groups, even random cross-server groups.

Ignore functionality will be extended to 50 names and will be cross-server.

Put it another way - suppose you join a group and ninja. 4 people put you on ignore, you now can't join pugs if any of those 4 are there. Do it a few more times and once a significant part of the battle group has you on ignore then you will be lucky to get a pug in under an hour.

Also ninjaing is pretty rare. You don't need to ninja. Want Betrayer of Humanity? Just make a pug lf24m - Axe reserved. No problems.

River said...

For me the jury is still out on this system.

Though I will make a post on it, basically my thought is this though.

You take a larger pool, your going to get more asshats.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I was really hoping that it'd be similar to how the LFG function is now in that you can be in there with a comment like "resto druid: 2200+ heals". Many times I've gotten invites for raids that wasn't even in the queue for because the raid leader was cruising the LFG "classifieds".

Professor Beej said...

I really look forward to playing around with this. The instant teleportation is a plus, but my main draw is never having to wait for a tank again because of the roles. I hope Blizzard specifies it to only put in 1 tank and 1 healer in a group (I've yet to play with it myself), but if they do, I can see myself spending a lot of time doing PuGs instead of watching trade for something to do.

Fish said...

Honestly, everything I've read about the feature, I really like

@stabs - based on what I've read, they won't allow "reserved" groups, anyone who can actually roll something can need on it, which I sort of like.

Kristi said...

Auto-disenchant option! No more lowlife enchanters "offering" to disenchant for the group, having everyone pass the gear to them, and then making off with all the shards at the end. Woohoo!

Rhii said...

I'm really concerned about the "deserter" debuff. If the matching system fails you somehow and you wind up the low one in an undergeared group, you can probably expect a /kick. Then you can't get back into instances for 15 minutes? I know it can take that long to find another group... but there are enough legitimate reasons to leave a group in mid-run that you shouldn't be penalized for it. It isn't like a battleground where really the only way you can get yourself thrown out is to AFK it.

I had to drop group in Gundrak yesterday because one of the other players was extremely verbally abusive and he was the group leader so couldn't be kicked. In the new system there's the vote-kick option, but in this case,the majority of the group didn't consider it a problem. I'm fairly open minded, I don't mind lighthearted cursing, and will use it myself on occasion, but this was straight up verbal battery intended to insult and demean us, and I for one am not willing to put up with that in my leisure activity. I certainly don't want Blizzard tagging me with a deserter mark for standing up for myself.

I hope it doesn't make it in.

Rhii said...

*above I meant an -overgeared- group, not an undergeared one. ;)

Larísa said...

I think you’re making a very good point there. It is hard as it is to make friends. Pugs is one of the few places you can get them. Doing it cross-server makes them useless for this. Still realm pugs will exist. But then you have to hang around in cities. And won’t be awarded extra. So the question is how common they will be.

I really don’t know how to make new friends either. Any suggestion is welcome. Might write a blogpost to highlight it a bit, maybe some creative suggestions will come from the readers.

@Dw-redux: since they say they’ll balance groups I doubt that you’ll get 5 man pala runs. Although that would be pretty cool! I remember back when you did Kara, there used to be some realm-pugs for druids only or palas only. I always envied those. A mage-only pug would hardly work… 

@Stabs: The battle group is so huge… You have to work pretty hard to make yourself such a name that you can’t find a pug I think…. But yeah, since good gear is so abundant these days I doubt that ninjas will be any huge problems. I know some bloggers think it will, but I’m optimistic.

@River: Well, I guess it’s to keep the asshatery under control that Blizzard makes some changes in loot distribution etc.

@Anonymous: yeah, with this system I guess you really have to make up your mind what you want to do. If you want to raid you need to be in the LFR thing and can’t be in the LFG. As far as I’ve understood it at least. You can’t even queue for a BG at the same time! Which is annoying. If I haven’t misunderstood it completely.

@Professor Beej: well I guess you can’t expect miracles on the tank side, since there’s generally a disproportional lack of them. But still, I think it will work smoother and quicker than the system today. The surplus on one server may cover the lack on another.

@Kristi: actually I’m a bit torn about the disenchant thing. Not that it isn’t convenient – it is- but I sometimes wonder about the whole view we have on the enchanter profession. How come that enchanters are expected to disenchant for the group and share the shards, while a skinner isn’t supposed to let everyone else roll for the skins or a herbalist or miner share their loot with the others? Now Blizzard is even building this into the system. It’s not that I think it’s wrong when enchanters are kind enough to do the job without any reward but a thanks. What is wrong is to always expect them to.
Might make a post about it one day. Our views on enchanters is strange.

@Rhii: I think the debuff is there for a very good reason. If it wasn’t, people could go pug-shopping without any consequences at all. Imagine! They would take a quick inspect on the group they were slotted to and if something didn’t fit them exactly – some other player competing for same loot, someone not being geared enough, whatever – they would bail in order to find some other random group. This could go on forever, making it hard for groups to form and take off. Sooo annoying. This buff is definitely needed to make people give a try to the group they’ve been placed in without being too picky.

Dracomage said...


I think the new LFG and LFR functions is going to make 1) doing instances much easier, and 2) gearing up faster.

1) Doing instances/raids I expect to be similar to battlegrounds. Very short wait periods before you get started. Max 2-5min wait to get 5 people ready to go.

Yes, similar to BGs - you will have idiots. Frequent use of the "Vote idiot button" and replacing them will be needed.

2) Do to shorter wait times for 5members, will allow for more runs in a same time frame, that will allow faster gearing up.

With my stable of alts - that is a great thing!

Anonymous said...

Wolflore said...
I share both of your comments on the LFG cahnnel not being available outside cities and the dissapointment that the new system will not work for raids.

Now what is not clear to me is what is gonna happen to the looking for raid tool which at this moment I care more about than the LFG group. I only expect using the LFG tool to do the occasional random daily.
So will the LFR tool remain as it is now but only for raids? I read somewhere that you cannot be in LFG and LFR at the same time, which is not so good. I understand that the new LFG tool will make finding a group really fast (kinda like it is right now for joining a battleground) so that concern may not be so relevant just like the LFG channel not being available outside cities.
Which brings me to another issue, so lets say I am in Icecrown doing dailys and I want to do a dungeon I suppose I can join the LFG tool from there but then won't have access to the LFG channel?
Then will the LFR channel still be available from anywhere? I dunno if we have any answers to these questions yet or we will have to wait and see.

SolidState said...

Larisa, you won't have to be in the LFG channel to actually look for a group. You can use the LFG tool while questing/farming/etc. anywhere in the world.

Larísa said...

@Dracomage: I think there's a difference between the LFG channel and the LFR, which both will be realm limited, and the new random-group-for-5-man-instances feature, which will cover the battle group. While quickly getting a group for some badge farming will be easier, I don't quite see the same improvement if you're seriously struggling to find a group for a raid.

@Wolflore: I'm just as confused as you, and that's how I have interpreted the information so far: that you can't join both LFG and LFR at the same time. And that you have to be in cities to access it. But much is unclear.

@Solidstate: my impression is that you can be in the NEW LFG channel that is crossrealm anywhere. But since grouping will be so fast, that won't matter much. If you on the other hand want to read the LFG channel for your realm you have to remain in the cities. Which sucks, since that can take SO much longer time. What are we supposed to do while we're waiting?

Hinenuitepo said...

Just catching up on my reading after a few days off....

I actually posted about 5-man (and raid) lfg shortly before anything was said by blues - but apparently it was already on PTR.

At any rate, getting teleported to the instance is wonderful. I agree with the other changes as well. I imagine it won't be long before LF raid will be cross-realm as well.

I'm not worried about ninjas, really. If I get a group that changes it from (and this may not even be possible in cross-realm lfg) need before greed, then I'll drop group. No big deal.

Snoop101 said...

Im not for it really.
I hate pugging anything and for that im in a good guild. I worked hard in raids to show the guild that im worth keeping around. So when heroic dailies come up I always have a group to go with.

My issue is, is that some people have said "I like it because I can get geared up faster". Seriously? Gearing up at 80 is so easy now that having all Epics means nothing anymore.

I rather know that I worked hard at finding groups of people to level with day by day then some random people I never talked to before. while leveling alts I just put the good people on my friends list and every day run with those people.

If your having issues pugging day by day then maybe its you?

Hinenuitepo said...

Since you don't really pug, Blizz doesn't need to worry about whether you think these changes are worthwhile, right?
I mean, I too prefer to run guild instances most of the time, but there are times when pugging is needed and/or fun. An example that might resonate with you would be: sometimes you meet new people - even the occasional person you might invite to join your guild!
Making the system work better is, simply good.
If you don't pug, then it doesn't matter to you, does it?