Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thoughts on the Dungeon Finder

I've had a bit more chance to use the Dungeon Finder and the new reward system, and as with most changes in WoW, I've found that there are things about it that I like, and things about it that give me pause.

The Good


I've never had it take more than about 30 seconds to find a group, or fill out the last couple of spots in one that's already half made.  Only once have I had an issue because someone refused to go, and I requeued and was in an instance in a few seconds.  Only once have I run into the "additional instances cannot be launched" problem, and with the teleporting into instances feature, we just did that and it launched one and got us in almost immediately.  Plus, with teleporting in at the beginning, there's no waiting once a group is formed, you're in and going.

Teleporting in and out of instances

I was a little wary of how this feature would work, at first, but since I've used it, it's awesome.  No more waiting for people to fly to instances, no more having to run back out and use the stone to get people back if they realize they goofed and need something.  Since it puts you back where you were, if you were in a major city you'll be able to quickly repair or purchase whatever you need there very quickly and disrupt the play of your group less.  Two thumbs up on this new feature!

The Emblem Reward System - Part A

I'll mention a part of this that I'm still wary about later, but I like the fact that you no longer have to loot emblems, or turn in the daily quest, just finish the dungeon.  It's smoother even though it takes a little away from the immersion of doing this for a quest.  I like it!

The Quality of Groups

I was nervous about having random groups/pugs.  In my experience it's all too easy to end up with an idiot or someone who just generally doesn't know what they're doing.  (I'm ok with newbies, but there's a difference between not having done content before or being new to pugging/heroics and not knowing what you're doing.)  If you're willing to accept constructive criticism and especially if you're willing to speak up and say, "Hey, I've not done this before/I'm new at this/etc," instead of trying to push blame on other folk, you'll do well.  Anyway, in my experience pugging with random folks, I've generally found people that are knowledgeable, decently to well geared, and generally amiable.  A far cry from what I expected.

Rewards for more than one random dungeon

You get gold and Emblems of Frost for the first random dungeon... but you get gold (albeit less) and additional Emblems of Triumph for additional random dungeons.  I think my guild has seen an increase in dungeon running because of this...

The Bad

It's FAST!

Perhaps it's been a wash with the increase due the last good point above, but I think my guild, at least, has seen a decrease in guild-centric runs because it's so fast to just queue up and pug a random dungeon.  There's a little less incentive to bother with pulling a guild run together because you don't have to work to find fill-ins.

Communication, or lack Thereof

Although the experience has been generally good for me, I dislike the fact that you really can't screen candidates at all ahead of time.  I dislike it not just for the possibility of getting thrown in with idiots, but because I think the general WoW population has an expectation that everyone knows the fights everywhere, and I think the lack of communication ahead of time could easily lead to newbies getting put down and having a bad experience because of other people's expectations of them.  Am I making any sense?  I don't know.

Teleporting into dungeons you've never been to before

I can't tell you where the entrance to the ICC 5-man instance is.  That saddens me.  I think this distances you, a bit, from the storyline behind it all.  Not a huge loss, but I think perhaps you should have to go to the instance at least once.

The Disenchant Option/Downroll Need Prevention

I've not experienced this myself but I've heard others complain about it.  The protection they put in the game to prevent downrolling has a drawback.  Druids cannot roll need on cloth gear.  Shamans and hunters, I would assume, cannot roll need on leather, paladins can't need on mail... they've prevented need rolls on items that are not your highest available armor type.

I can understand why they did this - I've heard quite a few complaints from cloth-wearers on Druids stealing their cloth loots.  The issue is that in 5-man instances, it's entirely possible that you have a group where the only player that is possibly capable of using an item can't roll need on an upgrade because of this... and with the disenchant option, that item could be destroyed before there's ever a chance of it getting traded back to them, because greed rolls on the same priority as disenchant.

This needs to be fixed.

The Don't Know Yet

The Emblem Reward System, Part B

One issue I've occasionally had in the past is how WoW handles disconnects during boss fights and receiving Emblems for them - usually it's worked ok, once or twice I was unable to loot the Emblems properly.  I have no idea how the new reward system will handle this.

The Disenchant Option

Apart from the issue mentioned above, I've rethought my previous position on the Disenchant option and I don't think it's going to have as drastic an impact as I thought... you do still have to have an enchanter in the party, which means that not everything will be getting disenchanted....

Blarg.  I am ded.

Ok not really.

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