Dungeon Finder Killed WoW

| Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Adam has reminded us that the random dungeon finder is wrecking the social aspect of WoW, making the RealID system seem like something of a bandaid over cancer.

He doesn't quite for far enough. So let me just say this, the thing I said in my title: The Random Dungeon Finder Killed WoW and We're All Fucked.

It goes like this: Dungeon finder makes everyone think of other players as anonymous nothings about which* they don't care. Some people already thought this way, but dungeon finder made it mutual, so then other players aren't just anonymous nothings, they're also stupid, lazy, and so terrible at everything and life that we're morally justified in stealing from them.

That's part one, the part where it kills the social aspect. Let's get the gear aspect now.

An automated system is also faster. For a tank, it's instant, faster than I could even type "tank lfg any heroics" in trade channel. For a healer, it's a minute, maybe two, which is probably still faster than typing and waiting for responses, while digging through anal Thunderfury spam (does anyone else have TF spam on their server?). For DPS it might be slower, since a group could theoretically be formed in a few minute rather than 15, but on average they're not going to be faster.

Faster groups mean faster badges, meaning that unless Blizzard fully intends for us to be geared up in a couple hours, we probably need inflation. And thus we had inflation. To make it even worse, we're encouraged to do randoms through the bribe of two extra triumph, or even two frost for the first. This also does a nice job of emphasizing that heroics aren't for people who need gear that drops in heroics, an indirect "need 4k GS for Naxx" equivalent.

The spam of emblems and assholes leads to a non-community of closed shutters and locked doors and gearscore. As friends drift away and the random cross-server instances fail to produce new ones, the social ties of WoW will die. And then, well then Blizzard will add a privacy-wrecking 'social' tool to make us stick together even when we've stopped playing.

* That's right, not whom.


Tesh said...

Seems to me that this just magnifies a problem that already existed; anonymous players on the internet will act like jerks.

See, I've had Dungeon Finder runs with really cool people that made it far more fun to just *play* than any loot could ever be. I've had other runs where people were complete idiots. That's just a cross-section of players. We do see more of it with random groups, yes, but it's always been there at some level. The only way to avoid that is to always play with Real Life friends, say on private servers or LAN parties.

Mike ... said...

I don't think it's a question of idiots vs cool people.

I've grouped with cool people and with idiots. The problem is I never see them (the cool people) again.

Anonymous said...

Dungeon Finder is not killing the social aspect of the game. Dungeon Finder is just a tool. We don't have to use it.

It may not be easy to make random groups from your home server, but it is possible and I see it happen daily in trade chat.

You don't have to do 5 mans with strangers, you can go with your guild. I've been consistently running 5 mans with my guild every night since I joined. It has done wonders for restoring my faith in the "WoW Community."

It's time for us players to take more accountability for the fun we find in our play time.

Klepsacovic said...

@Tesh: Beyond just the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, doesn't LFD add a second layer of anonymity, that even this avatars we create are anonymous?

@Mike: That's the problem, it makes a cycle of idiots. When we can't hang on to the cool people we just get more idiots.

@loveandwarinazeroth: Running with a guild doesn't bring in new players. That's the problem, we have little ability to consistently run with new players, to see the community and recruit. The "you don't have to use it" argument carries little weight in a social environment; if anough other people are using it, I'm affected whether I want to be or not.

Anonymous said...

I've joined Gevlon's merry band of helpers, no Anal [insert Wow template] spam here. But on Aszune, Friday 2000, Anal Spam alert.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, a bit more subtle than mine, but still right on the money.

Bristal said...

I'd also rather spend 15 minutes getting a group together, pleasantly chatting, and then flying 5 minutes to get there (really, it sounds so collegial).

The problem is, before the Dungeon Finder, I couldn't BUY my way into a dungeon group! The upper crust raiders had their own considerable groups to draw from. Larger guilds had lots of guildies online most of the time.

I had a very small guild with rarely enough players (or classes) to run a 5 man other than on our appointed night.

To be fair, I did get accepted into a few groups after spending an hour begging. And at least twice got dropped when the late guildie showed. Great game.

Dungeon Finder was made for ME.

The rest of you are abusing it and then bitching that it's killing your experience.

Stop. Using. It.

IMO you're just being lazy, profiting from it, and then blaming Blizzard for making you lazy cuz you're bored.

Klepsacovic said...

@Noisy: I was trying to be less subtle. I fail.

@Bristal: I rarely ran heroics with my guild, even if I could have always formed a group. Maybe experiences vary by the server, but there always seemed to be a lively maretplace of people selling themselves in trade, I mean that figuratively.

If I had to guess, I'd say the obnoxious players in randoms are the raiders. So that would mean they're not using it and then whining, they're using it and causing whining.

Anonymous said...

The Dungeon Finder isn't the problem. It's actually a great way to bring people together who wouldn't otherwise meet. The problem is that realms are social islands. LFD instances are a dead end because there's no way to keep in touch with anybody after the instance is done. Why bother seeing if anybody in your group is worth knowing?

Justisraiser said...


Was this supposed to be sarcastic?

In the event it's not... 10 mans are the new 5 man dungeons for me. I try and organize a 10 man ICC PUG every Sunday afternoon. It's a lot of fun meeting people on another server and assuming the run is pleasant (which is usually is, we generally clear 8-11 bosses) then we're quickly adding each other to our friends list. Sometimes I see them next Sunday and sometimes I don't and I make new friends.

The problem with LFD now is that the content is basically faceroll since every group overgears it. Just zone in, plow through everything, win 2 frost emblems, rinse-repeat tomorrow.

I think Cataclysm will bring some changes to this. We won't be overgearing it, because dungeons will be new content. Since there will be a cap of "Valor Tokens" (or whatever they're calling frost emblems), overgeared e-peen flexers won't even need to queue up, leaving it to people that actually need the gear. And if the devs are serious about moving away from a model where you just gather up the trash and AoE it down and CC returns, then you'll actually have to talk to and communicate with your party members.

Given all of the above, I could definitely see myself forming a 5 man group on my server before queueing up to make sure I had a good group before zoning in (and to minimize gear conflicts). And barring that, I'd know I'd have to talk to my new party members beyond just saying "gogogo."

Lastly, while LFD for level 80 heroics does seem to ruin some of the community feel, it's a godsend for alts. I basically just never did dungeons on my alts before level 70 because it was impossible to get a group, and if I did it was because a guildie ran me through it on his main.

Ngita said...

For those that say dont use it, I mostly dont. But we all want our frost badges and our chance @ RANDOM occulus becauase thats the only way to get the mount, when I do I amforced to take what I get. I cant even vote-kick or drop group anymore because both of those options will punish me with a increased timer on future vote kicking.

Its doubtful on my server if it is indeed "quicker" it quicker as a tank. But 90% of my groups would be someone going lf1m dps in lfg and me "invite my dps xxxx in 30 seconds" In the meantime I could be on another class, questing, gathering , leveling because /lfg worked and worked well.

Its not just rdf. You can ninja items gloat in trade while reporting people talking about you for harssement, you can be banned for posting about that ninja because a earlier thread was deleted and that means your reposting a moderated thread. In the meantime they are scot free, If worst comes to worst then can server transfer twice and it even cleans the slate on all of those x-server ignores.

Klepsacovic said...

@Anonymous: Maybe this is what RealID is for, so we can stay connected with people we would otherwise have no contact with after an instance. I admit, it's a stretch.

@Justisraiser: Exaggerated, but not quite sarcastic.

I hadn't thought of 10-mans that way, but I suppose they are a non-trivial but slightly easier content that we do outside of guilds in which people are challenged and stick together for more than 15 minutes, so they might actually talk.

However I'm not sure Cataclysm won't eventually fall into the same pattern. Unless there are mechanics which would discourage it, people will eventually overgear to the point of AoE spam.

For leveling LFD is pretty great. Since the pool is smaller, cross-realm is necessary for group creation in a reasonable time, and you might even run into them again, even if you won't be inviting them to your guild.

@Ngita: You can still vote kick, just less often.

If someone wants to pay that much to flee their crimes, let them. It helps pay for the GMs. As for ninjaing, it's all a matter of following procedure. If they are ML, ensure that they establish unambiguous loot rules before anything drops; breaking those rules does fall under the scam policy. For the realm forum thread, use a standard of making the thread and also adding to an existing "ninjas of [server]" thread, so that future posters know the incident is covered.

Ngita said...

Various realm forums have different moderators. Proudmoore/blackrock or is it bloodlust? The standard upheld is that a character name+ ninja is prejudicial and sufficient reason for thread deletion if reported. Reposting a deleted thread even if you where not the orginal poster is enough for a temp ban.

/Ignore is supposed to be our ultimate protection.But as I said I have had half a dozen disappear with "character can no longer be found" and removed from ignore list. A quick search of armory turns up the same name same race same class. Just a different server in the same battlegroup.

The Gnome of Zurich said...

This is what RealID seems to be for. What's required to keep social cohesion with cross server LFD is the ability to intentionally talk or group with specific people cross server. Real ID doesn't allow grouping, but it should.

And more importantly, it plops this extra thing on it which basically ruins the job it should be doing.

If the standard games tools allow cross server random grouping, then we need to be able to communicate and group cross server in order to develop and maintain social connections from pugs.

I've always felt the guild model was too confining, and that cross guild alliances should be better supported. It's even worse when you are dealing with cross realm.

There are about a dozen people who play wow who I know personally in real life, most of whom do not really play. There are perhaps another half dozen to a dozen in-game only people that I'd be willing to share my real email address with.

I really want cross server communication and a cross server friends list (and also the ability to group with friends on different servers to go to instances). If blizzard did this, the social decay from random LFD would be almost completely abated.

RealID doesn't cut it though, because I'm only willing to expose my real life information to about a tenth of the people I'd be willing to group and play with.

devotchka said...

I'm glad to hear other players voice the frustrations I feel with the LFD tool lately.

I was, and still am, very displeased about the enchanting aspect of it. But otherwise, in a way, it's a godsend for a player like me -- ultracasual, very small-to-nonexistent guild, with very very limited playtime -- in that I can get a group quickly and get some badges for gear I wouldn't otherwise be able to obtain. My most-played character is, while not uberelite, geared better than I ever have been in my 5 years of playing the game, and it's fun, even if I only do quests, 5mans, and holidays.

On the other hand, as was so well said in this post, the sorry behavior of so many players, which frequently turns my playtime into high-blood-pressure time, seems to have been magnified in this instant groups. It's nice that (unless I made this up or misunderstood -- I can't remember where I heard this) I can put an awful player from another server on ignore and not have to group with them again, but it would be even better if I could add the rare enjoyable players from other servers to my friends list and group with them across servers intentionally, instead of just hoping I'll get someone decent.

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