Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dungeon Finder Call to Arms

On April 7, Bashiok announced the possible addition of a call to arms system for the dungeon finder. There has been a lot of negative reaction to it, negative reaction that I personally feel is mostly misguided, so I wanted to chat about it a little bit.

I actually think that this proposal is genius. I could re-state Bashiok's post, but that seems superfluous: if you haven't read it yet, you should go read it. I think the goodie bags, and specifically the non-combat pets and mounts, are an elegant solution to a difficult problem. I use the phrase "elegant solution" here quite deliberately, too. I most often associate that phrase with solutions found for problems in the sciences or engineering. It carries connotations of finding a very simple, yet creative fix for what had appeared to be an intractable problem. And the long DPS queue times really had appeared to me to be such a problem.

There are a couple complaints that I'm seeing a lot about this proposal, both of which seem really flimsy to me. The first is something along the lines of this:

"The only people that are going to queue for these bags are bad tanks and DPS players without any tanking gear, spec, or experience."

To be honest, I don't see a whole lot of need to give this any sort of serious response. It's a bald assertion with no evidence, not even logical evidence. I don't see why anyone would think this. I mean, if the goodie bag incentive is going to work so well on bad tanks and non tanks, why wouldn't it work on decent tanks? Are those players actually aliens or something? I always assumed they were players that were pretty much similar to myself, and I see no reason to change that thinking now.

Even if you weaken the statement to "most of the people that will queue for the bags," I still don't see any reason to think that that's true.

Look, think about it this way. It is an indisputable fact that good tanks use the random dungeon system. You just can't argue with me on this one: I've had too many perfectly decent tanks in random dungeons. Really awful tanks have been a distinct minority, in fact.

It is also true that these decent tanks get instant queues.

Since they're getting instant queues, I don't see any way that they could possibly not be gearing up faster than DPS players. Remember that they're decent tanks! They're clearing most of the instances they start.

Once these tanks are geared up, they have no reason to continue using the queue system.

The goodie bags are there to convince these geared folks to step back into the queues for a chance at some toys, flasks, and so on. I see no reason why this wouldn't work.

The second argument I see most frequently leveled against the goodies is that it's "unfair" or it "devalues" the mounts and pets that people have already ground. Again, I don't buy it. None of these are raid items or real prestige items - they're all things that you can get with varying degrees of patience. And they're all "devalued" as-is, by the relentless march of expansions. Anzu mounts were exponentially more rare in BC, when you had to have a druid that had spent the 5,000 gold in the party and H-Sethekk Halls was relatively challenging. Now any old idiot can wander into the instance and murder Anzu every day. The difference between that and a small chance at getting him from successfully tanking an entire random without any guildies is minimal.

Nothing is being taken from anyone. As it stands, no one gets any goodie bags and DPS queues are 30-60 minutes, depending. If this change goes live, DPS queues should drop and tanks (and maybe healers) will get some goodies. Life gets better for everyone. There is no downside.

I usually try to be charitable when it comes to the motivations of others, but it's getting pretty tough in this instance. It really seems like a lot of people are mad that they won't get goodie bags and are scrambling for justifications for their ire instead of being thankful for a shot at reduced queue times.

I will note that many persons are suggesting the bags and/or the special items in them be made BoA, and I'd support that. The goal of the system is to add tanks and healers to the queues - making things BoA would only help with that goal.

I do apologize for the long break in posts. RL has been pretty active for me recently, and I haven't been logging into WoW outside of raid times. VA did kill the Ascendant Council last week though, yay! We've just got Cho'gall and Nef to go for the regular modes now. I really think we'll be able to clear T11 before 4.2 hits, which should mean that we'll be clearing T12 on a better timeframe. Whoo!

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