NOTE: The Beta Key Contest will end on Friday, September 19th at 3 PST, 5 CST, 6 EST. Go solve those riddles!
So you all know how I love the Other Raids feature. Even with its tendency to show healers as needing a group when they don’t, or randomly unlist your group, the feature is pretty great. Thanks to Other Raids, I have gotten my ilvl up to 556, been able to clear 8/14 Normal SoO, and gotten a few achievements on the way. All in all, I’d consider the feature a success.
But, even I will admit, the feature was a band-aid on a bigger issue. Pugging, and the extreme difficulty it was without outside sources. And with 6.0, Blizzard intends to put in place their real solution to the problem.
The Looking for Adventure tab in the Group Finder, it is called. Within it, players can search through and find a group to their liking, and then apply. Or they can create a group, and set certain criteria such as item level or voice comm. So basically, a built-in OQ. In theory, I think the idea is sound enough, but I have a few queries.
First things first, will you only be able to list groups, or can you list as an individual looking for a group? One thing I’ve noticed in the current iteration of Other Raids, is that there will be dozens of people looking for raids, and only a few groups listed. With this new LFA (that’s gonna be my acronym folks, you heard it here first!), will there be just a few groups forming, and dozens of people all rushing to get into those limited spots? Or will I be able to queue up as a healer, and just wait for the whispers to come in?
I kind of hope that the LFA will let you queue as an individual or as a group, but have them under separate tabs. For example, someone looking for a group might list themselves under the Individual tab, then go and search for a raid in the Group tab. And vice versa. Also, as a sometimes raid leader, I like the fact that you can pick from an array of different people, instead of just the people who apply.
My second question; will the requirements be abused? Yes I know that you cannot put an ilvl higher than your own, and if you put a high ilvl, only people with that ilvl will see it. But you can easily circumvent that by putting a low ilvl requirement, but in the description mention that you actually want x ilvl. I can see lots of possible ways that this system could be abused.
Also, one of the specific requirements that you can choose are Proving Grounds level you wish your group member have achieved. Personally, I disliked the Proving Grounds. I didn’t feel like that was an adequate way to test your skill at a class. I thought the time was too punishing, and the kiting/defensive cooldowns severely lacking. I learned almost nothing about raid awareness, CCs, or group etiquette. All I got from my experience was how to spam your abilities the best and how to complete some highly specialized and otherwise irrelevant tasks. As a result, I barely did any of them. I don’t really want that to become a requirement. I didn’t enjoy them, and I didn’t think they were a good test of the skills necessary in a raid. And I certainly don’t want ‘LF DPS, Need PG GOLD’ to become a new normal.
But unfortunately, this sort of elitist behavior is already common in the gaming community. I don’t want to tell you how many times I see a flex with an ilvl 550+, or a normal demanding ilvl 570, the legendary cloak, and heroic experience. You definitely don’t need that level of gear and experience to run that level of content. But unfortunately, many groups now want that. And with this new group finder, I worry that this will become even worse.
I guess what I am getting at here is that while the LFA will be a great feature, we could possibly be trading ease of access for elitism. I absolutely love the idea of pugging, but left to its own devices, it can get way out of control. We need some sort of incentive to bring along at gear level characters, not just massively over geared ones.
‘But Fussypants, can’t you just set up your own pugs?’ Yes, but I shouldn’t have to do so every time. There should be groups with moderate requirements that I can join. Not just groups with outrageous requirements that are way out of my range. The nature of pugging is quick semi-formal groups to run content. Not hardcore, elitist jerks that carry the one leader of the group.
All things in moderation, especially World of Warcraft pug requirements.