Frustrations with LFD

January 13, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’ve begun using the new LFD system a little more, particularly for tanking. For all-guild heroics it’s fantastic as it saves the time wasted flying there. And, overall, my experience with the new system has been mostly positive and encouraging. That said, I think the LFD system reduces the (social) power of tanks within pugs.

My last statement may sound surprising to some readers as tanks have the shortest queue. I can sign up for a random heroic and, more often than not, I will have a group before I can stretch my legs and take a deep breath. Furthermore, if I don’t like the group I can leave and have another one in seconds. What’s not to like?!

Let me step back in time before 3.3 and describe my typical pug experience to help explain. I would usually look for a trusted healer either in guild or on my friends list. After finding one, I would either grab any three adequate dps from /guild or /trade. We’d fly there, run the heroic, and either be done or run another. For the most part, this isn’t so different from the current system except for two very important differences: 1) I had some control over who got in my groups and 2) I was the group leader.

The first point is important because it helped me to pre-screen my group. I was able to weed out — fairly or unfairly –several different groups of players, including: players on my ignore list, people that act like idiots in /trade, anybody with ‘dk’ in their name, members of guilds that in my experience contain many bad or obnoxious individuals, and anybody that was unable to promptly respond to an ‘LFM’ in trade. To mix culinary metaphors, I didn’t always get the cream of the crop but I certainly never got the dregs.

The second point is especially important for when LFD gives me dregs. If there is somebody rude, reckless or totally unprepared for heroics (please please please, know how to cast your buffs and do 1000 dps before you run randoms!) I can’t make the decision to kick on my own — I need the consent of the other three people in the group. In other words, good luck kicking anybody that grouped with a friend.

So, with the change, I find my power to shape the kind of groups I am in as a tank greatly diminished (assuming I want the top tier badges every day). Where unpleasant people are concerned, it is easy to get them in my group and difficult to get them out. I think LFD has performed fabulously in terms of getting tanks quick groups and I don’t want to diminish Blizzard’s success in this respect, but I think that the new system has been a step backwards in providing tanks with the means to shape the kind of dungeon experience they have.

If encouraging tanks to tank is one of Blizzard’s goals, I think it is important to look beyond speed of group formation. Others have proposed greater rewards for tanks and healers to solve this issue, but I don’t know that that will make tanking more fun. Instead, I’d like to have more control over the types of groups I get. If I grouped with you before and I liked you, I would like an increased chance that you will be put in my group again! If you were a butthead, though, I’d prefer to never see you again (without having to use one of my precious /ignore slots). It would be nice if this carried across characters on an account, too. If you are a friendly, pleasant hunter, I am willing to take the risk that you are also a friendly, pleasant shaman.

Anyhow, that is most of the unhappy stuff I wanted to say. Hopefully I will have something more positive and productive written up in a few days. Thanks for reading.

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