Don't leave until the instance is done

| Monday, November 1, 2010
But when is it done?

The definition of instance completion has changed over time. Let's see how.

To start off, I'm going to define two initial mindsets for how an individual will decide that an instance is done. The first is selfish and the other is cooperative. The selfish person will define the instance as done for them while the cooperative will define it as done for the group. Keep in mind that these do not necessarily result in different final definitions; the separate paths may converge again, or diverge ever further.

What makes an instance done?

At the furthest extreme, every single mob is dead, every gear has been clicked, and until there are respawns there is nothing to do beside run around. I've only seen this happen intentionally a few times, but some instances will have it happen naturally due to narrow, single paths which force players to fight every pack.

Then there are the middle grounds of every boss dead or every quest completed. Depending on the instance one may require more time than the other, so I cannot place them relative to each other.

Toward the doing less end is the instance completion message from the dungeon finder. Done, here's your other loot and bonus xp.

And finally at the lowest end is the instance achievement. This will be different from the instance completion in winged instances such as BRD or Maraudon.

Coming after finally (because I can't figure out where to fit it in) is the specific item goal. A player or group runs for a specific drop and once that's done, they're done. Or if it fails to drop, possibly the same, followed by a requeue. This is the guy who keeps leaving halfway into HoR.

Note that we didn't always have all of these criteria. Dungeon finder rewards are more recent than achievements which are more recent than quest completion or boss kills. And this is where the change has come from.

Whether the actual mindset has shifted from cooperative to selfish, the behavior has given the appearance of such a shift. A cooperative player on a quest goal can understand that others on quest goals may have other quests, so his quest completion does not mean the instance is done. In contrast a selfish player will define the instance as done when their own quests are done. However with the addition of various single-event announcements, such as an achievement for killing the one last boss or loot bag for the same, players have tended towards a thought of "I'm done, so they must be done too." This creates the same behavior, leaving, as if they were operating with a selfish mindset.

The selfish mindset isn't new. Long before HoR I saw players drop in the middle of instances after getting, or failing to get, the loot they wanted. But there was less of a tendency to assume that "I'm done, so they must be done too" Why? Because we knew from the beginning that our goals didn't always fit the perfectly linear path of a modern instance. Maybe it was BRD and we needed to kill 10 of a trash mob, but a path straight to the bosses would only yield 7 or 8. Or we're running into Maraudon and someone needs the crystals from the Khans, but they're not right at the instance entrances, so we'll deviate from the course slightly. Sometimes the quest mob isn't even normally present, but is part of a triggered event. From the start there's the idea if "I'm doing something different, so maybe they are as well".

But there was a more important factor still: nothing told us when we were done. Players had to define for themselves and their group when an instance was done. So if a group wanted to skip half the instance and only kill the third to last boss, they're done.

Now we have something to tell us when we are done. This doesn't necessarily align with how we've defined it. But it's the official "Blizzard says we're done" message, so it must be true and universal. This message is why Maraudon is missing two bosses. They're still there, but the "you're done" message comes before them, so players assume the individual and the group are done.

As the stimuli have rewarded different behaviors, so have the behaviors changed. Maybe we're not more selfish than we once were, but we're less thoughtful, assuming that what we want is what others want. And then to end on a tangent: humans are less kind to anonymous nobodies, so regardless of the change in stimuli, running with cross-realm people who we'll never see again will cause more selfish behavior. Add to that the simulated selfishness and you have the new way to run instances: alone.


Tesh said...

Hey, this looks like a follow up. :)

I do think that feedback on "this area is clean" is nice, but the dungeon Achievements seem a bit much, especially in cases like Mauradon where there's definitely more to do. The dead end in Uldaman is a nice dungeon-designed "finished" sign... but with the new split to the dungeon, killing Ironaya will mean you're finished with a segment, despite more places to go. As such, I think that smart dungeon design should make it pretty clear when you're done, simply because there's nothing left to do but fight respawns.

So yes, splitting old dungeons can definitely confuse the issue.

...but then, I'm far from a WoW dungeon expert. So, I'll just agree that the finish line declaration from Blizzard should probably be more carefully chosen.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the "loot bag" shifted the viewpoint which boss is "final" and killing him completes the instance in some cases from common consensus to an "obvious" pop up.

For example Zul'Farrak, back in the days the usual common consensus was you kill the Chief Sandscalp then Gazhrilla, now I'm scared everyone will leave after Sandscalp because they already got their lootbag.

The problem isn't that they leave after lootbag. The problem is once instance is completed, you cannot pick replacements from LFG, if you want those Gazhrilla, Celebras the Cursed, etc. bosses.

The most ridiculous dissonance I encountered was Ramps. Omor grants achievement for killing the last boss, but Vazruden grants the LFG lootbag...

However what I see in levelling instances people are more eager to kill the non-mandatory bosses. For loot, for XP, and especially for a quest they haven't done if you share it to them...

Nikodhemus said...

Blackrock is one of the strangest for this because there are no clearly drawn lines like there are in other big dungeons like Dire Maul. Unless doing the Spire, I always start in Blackrock near the prison, and as i've never once been able to score the key to the dungeon, I'm stuck going through the lower end over and over when queing for random.

I love the Random group finder compared to how we used to have to look for a group, but it really does lend towards being selfish. I try not to, especially while tanking, but with the limited amount of time i'm able to play, many times it doesn't benefit me to slog through the same portion of a dungeon over and over. Really I prefer to clean a dungeon from top to bottom ie diablo II, but just isn't feasible every time

Klepsacovic said...

@Tesh: They split Uldaman? That's ridiculous. They should just clean up some trash and simplify the tunnels. If no one gets lost it's really not that long.

@Anonymous: The inability to get replacements is pretty frustrating. I remember having a lot of trouble with St because of that.

@Nikodhemus: Next time you're dead in the area, talk tot he ghost dwarf. Then drag your group around for the key bits. Promise them epics.

Shintar said...

Very well expressed. How many times have you heard (before the emblem change) that "We're all only running heroics for the frost emblems anyway?" Because the idea that anyone might have a different goal, like getting the achievement, completing the quest or getting a drop, is completely inconceivable...

Tesh said...

I don't think they have split Uldaman yet, but I read a post where they were planning on doing so, splitting there at Ironaya. It seems like an odd choice to me, too.

Anonymous said...

I think the "Blizzard-enforced" ending of a dungeon, i.e. - the awarding of extra loot/emblems, XP and gold and the message, has become and should be the established "end" to a dungeon. When leveling, it's almost always worth more to simply requeue and run another dungeon. You get the extra xp and loot, and you'll almost certainly get more xp running through a fresh dungeon than trying to clean out the remaining mobs. The only reason I can think of for staying in a dungeon after the message is if you need to do something for a quest or what a specific piece of gear. With that in mind, the "message as ending" should be default. I'm not opposed to doing more things in a dungeon if someone needs to, but they should mention/ask about it at the beginning of the dungeon, not wait until the end then complain when people leave.

Anonymous said...

The two that always got my goat were both in the LK heroics. Gundrak and Halls of Stone. Nobody ever wanted to go kill Eck. Nobody ever wanted to go get Krystallus (heck, there were teams that didn't want to go and get Maiden of Grief, just straight in, do the tribunal, then do Sjonnir.)

Melvyl said...

If you are running Utgarde Pinnacle and you know someone in your party is doing the quests, please make sure the Abomination that guards the door back to the start is dead before you leave. It is simply the polite thing to do.

Personally, I still think the worst dungeon in the game is Gnomeregan. I was in a party once that spent like an hour just working our way through the trash to get to the first boss. BRD is huge but at least there is something to break up the monotony now and then.

Anonymous said...

Here is when the instance was done for me last night. I was tanking on my warrior, some lock decided he wanted to pull (I was in the instance for about 2 min and was getting a drink of water). After politely saying, please let me pull and getting the answer, well pull faster, there is no reason to pull slowly (note I had no idea what the healer's capacity was)... you suck you looser tank.
I said, goodbye ...

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy the convenience of the dungeon finder, but I am sad that the whole dungeon is often not finished. I have killed the end boss in BRD once, after having run it countless times. The sense of achievment was great, the group had really slogged together to get to the end, and it felt special.

The impatience that is found now in the random dungeon finder tends to limit the willingness to go that extra bit longer to do something worthwhile.

Randoms have turned into the training grounds of how to play in a group. I generally run as the healer and find that very few tanks will pause for mana unless you repeatedly ask. Also dps will urge the tank to pull more, as above, without checking if the healer can manage.

Usually a polite remider that heals require mana and that people should watch their threat will solve this problem. The last group that pulled massively got one warning from me, and when they did it again healed til oom, then left them to die.

Perhaps that will be a "life" lesson for them.

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