Dear everyone suggesting a rating system of LFD

| Saturday, April 9, 2011

No really. Lol. I laugh at your idea.

It will be abused. Or, it will be so uselessly gimped as to be... useless. Let's all think about what happens when anonymous interacts with anonymous. Yep, the exact LFD system we have right now. Pretty awful, isn't it? What makes you think the god-awful DPS, elitist tank, or whiny healer are going to suddenly start being calm and sensible when presented with a survey about the other players in the group?

One of my last experiences in randoms was to get kicked by a group. Why? I wasn't kissing the tank's ass properly, pointing out that he was in frost presence. Pressed on it, also pointing out that it was my sheeping, kiting, and interrupts that were keeping the healer alive when the tank as busy being garbage. Hey, I never said you can't carry a tank, just that it's not as common as so many DPS seem to think. That is the result of an anonymous system in which you'll never meet people again: good players get kicked and people reactive extremely badly to the slightest negative thing.

WoW used to have a rating system. No really, it did. We called it a "server" or sometimes "realm." Gather round and let me tell you about a time when people played with people from their own server and only their own server. When there are only a few thousand people to keep track of, it's a lot easier to get the word around that someone is a complete jackass, or amazing. Of course a few thousand is still quite a lot, but not everyone is logged in at the same time.

When you're going to be around the same people again, then you're going to care more. Their opinions will matter, not merely "I don't want people to think badly of me" sense, but "if I act like a total jackass people will know not to group with me again." It wasn't an explicit rating system, but it was there, some way to measure and communicate performance. Yep, trade chat used to serve an essential function of giving groups a place to complain about shitheads. It wasn't a perfect system. For instance, it can be hard to sustain a solid flame wall about a bad group member if there are a hundred enchanters desperately looking for customers. Things were bad before vellums were added.

No wait, don't say it. If we go back to single-server grouping queues will go up. You think so? Maybe. But maybe not. Listen to the tanks; how many are complaining that their short queue times cause them to have to tank too much (none) compared to how many are complaining that randoms are too often hellish nightmares of awful and bad? (many) So I suggest this: even if we lose some liquidity by cutting off servers, that could be compensated for by tanking being less stressful, thereby causing more tanks to queue and possible more players to tank.

More players tanking? But won't they all be garbage? Maybe. Or maybe when people are no longer just a bunch of anonymous jackasses they'll be more willing to talk and listen. The awful tank will know that if he doesn't listen and improve he'll be kicked to the curb whereas if he does, then he can get some tiny bit of reputation for listening and improving. Meanwhile if they have a good chance of possibly seeing him again, the group will be willing to talk and help improve, since if they can fix a tank, that's one more good tank for them. When we'll never see them again, we shovel off bad players as a problem for someone else (guess what happens when everyone does this, oh right, we get their garbage), whereas if we have to acknowledge that they are in fact our problem, we fix it.

Oh, you just never want to have to deal with bad players? Fine, go play in your guild and never touch LFD. That's fine. You can go away and have no affect on anything. Good. Everyone wins.

As for the rest of us, who care to fix the world rather than just grab at the last few scraps and whine about how bad everything is, we can do something.

Or we can't. What the fuck am I thinking? We're never going back to servers. We're too attached to the idea of fast queues for groups we don't want to be in, somehow imagining that a lot of not having fun is better than a little of having fun.

But hey, at least there's RIFT, right? Maybe. At least until they get around to their own tools and the inevitable cross-server implementation, and there we go again.

Yesterday I remarked at how I remember when ramen noodles were a dime. I think MMOs cause premature aging. Now get off my lawn.


Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like you were being a bit of a jackass as well. You can send someone a tell rather than pointing it out in group chat. You can ask questions politely, but you decided to be a condescending asshole.

That's why the tanking bribery will probably not work, because of the possibility of getting in a group with someone who thinks they are being polite when they say "you suck and your tanking is garbage" or something to that effect. Really, they are being unhelpful asses.

Anonymous said...

He didn't tell him that he's garbage, he told us that he was garbage.

The notion of being obliged to send a private whisper rather than using group chat is preposterous to me. There's nothing private about the tank being in the wrong presence. It's a matter that concerns the group. The very purpose of group chat is discussing matters that concern the group. And if it's so embarrassing for the tank to be caught in the wrong presence that he'll consider himself mortally insulted and swear a blood feud upon being publicly called on it .. guess what .. I think he should pay more attention to not being in the wrong presence to begin with.

I sincerely hope that when RIFT implements some LFD functionality, they'll keep it server-confined. They already acknowledged that they are aware of issues with cross-server LFD - how they'll approach and solve it, time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I have levelled various characters (paladin, druid and DK) with the idea that I would try this tanking thing, but considering the shit you can get as a healer - there is no way I would step foot in a pug group as a tank.

I recently went into Ragefire Chasm with my boomkin and people were raging about the tank not keeping aggro (never mind the mage attacking everything and anything) - but the guy politely said that he was still learning to tank and would welcome help. The narky healer says that the tank should learn to tank elsewhere and not waste people's time by queueing as tank if he doesn't know how to do the job. o.O

If that is the attitude in the very first instance you can get into in the game, then I am seriously surprised that there are any tanks at all in randoms...

I agree with you that the server bound instance groups were better in that most people would behave reasonably as they knew that there were consequences if they didn't.

Klepsacovic said...

@Anonymous: I can't find the point where I said any of that and I'd certainly never refer to "you suck and your tanking is garbage" by saying "I wasn't kissing the tank's ass properly, pointing out that he was in frost presence." I forgot whether I did it in whisper or group, but I'm pretty sure it was in group, right after he'd yelled at someone for pulling aggro. On the first pull. The healer wasn't zoned in. So he yelled at him too.

"The narky healer says that the tank should learn to tank elsewhere and not waste people's time by queueing as tank if he doesn't know how to do the job."
I was lucky to have managed to get used to tanking before running into this. That's something I can't stand, bashing new players who admit they're new and are just trying to learn. I have sympathy for newbs after a memorable incident when my shaman pulled aggro and died so many times in a row, immediately after being ressurected, that I got to a two minute res timer.

Stabs said...

I still think it will be of some value to have a rating system.

There is a problem that outspoken (good) players are disliked, I've been kicked too for offering advice or just plain talking.

But it's dwarved by the perception that the others are utterly unimportant, you'll never see them again and that they can do nothing that has any impact on you.

So people bailing on their groups for instance - that would be cut drastically if you knew the others could downrate you but you couldn't vote on them (if only people who finish runs are enfranchised for instance).

The real problem is that in a sufficiently large community people tend not to care about random strangers. That's the line you walk when you expand your community to optimise convenience.

Shintar said...

I think a rating system simply wouldn't work because people don't even agree on what qualifies as a good run anymore. The dps might consider it awesome that the tank chain-pulls as if he was on speed, but at the same time the healer might think that he sucks because he never allows time to drink. One person's great run is another one's nightmare. You'd need to differentiate between a lot of different preferences and I don't think the system could support that kind of complexity.

Klepsacovic said...

@Stabs: If outspoken players are disliked, won't a rating system just give people another way to attack them, without even needing a vote kick majority? Or if only people who finish can vote, that encourages kicking people who might vote negatively, such as the outspoken people.

@Shintar: Then there's this problem. One guy wants every mob for rep, another wants a very fast run, and a third guy is hanging back to read quest text, all thinking that the others are inconsiderate and ruining the run. It reminds me of a post I wrote last year: Don't lave until the instance is done, about how there's no consensus on what instance completion means, and worse, not attempt to reach a consensus.

Max said...

Look good rating system is not about facebook "epeen" friends. - Who is was rated bad and who was good is not visible to anyone but yourself

If you go ahead and mark player "bad" or "good" system will judge that to group(or not) YOU , not anyone else

In your example - you get kicked. YOu can mark those players as bad ,and they mark you as such. That doesnt mean they , or you, are "bad". It means you wont get grouped together (which I am sure none of you will miss)

For example I would tolerate assholes if they perform top notch. In my experience many of top players are actually assholes. But I dont want group with the nicest guys on earth if he is clicker and backpedaler.

I am sure that nicest guy wont appreciate either when some elitist will tell him to "gtfo scrub"

Beauty of good rating system is that you decide who is good and who is not. Not some arbitrary criteria. If you want fast run - you will be grouped with those who wants same, and so on.

Imakulata said...

Good point. While I still think that people in the LFD group are generally good (with a couple of bad apples which form a minority), I am quite surprised that someone who thinks that 90% of players are bads who are too busy insulting others to do anything besides pulling 3 packs while still fighting a boss (and the rest are rude players who do all of that and MD it to the healer just out of spite) - that someone who thinks all this would not mind - no, that they would request in no unclear words, that these players would judge their performance.

PS: Of course, if someone assumes the "bad" players are rare, they can conclude that judging will work well. But I've never seen anyone saying: Hey, this LFD tool is the best thing since sliced bread, but I think it would be even more awesome with a system to give +points to other players in place!

Imakulata said...

Of course, I was not talking about the system Max proposed. He has a point although I'm wondering how would he implement it to make it work the way he wants it.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. A LFD rating system would never, ever work. I found it surprising easily to get people kicked from groups (you only pretty much need to initiate the kick and everyone else will approve it mindlessly) so I can just imagine the havoc a rating system would cause...

Klepsacovic said...

@Max: The rating system is so I can avoid grouping with people who I will probably never see again anyway? Players who give each other positive ratings could be grouped together, but that would require a few timing issues to be sorted out, and still would not address the overall GIFT problems.

@Imakulta: In my experience, elitists have little ability to comprehend reciprocity, either positive or negative.

@Gordon: I imagine there would be a whole lot of neutral ratings mixed with negative, as we anonymously and wordlessly coast through and forget the people the moment it's over, while remembering the bad, which partially accounts for the negative perception of LFD: we better remember the minority bad than the majority neutral.

Anonymous said...

Then there is the issue of how long a rating would haunt you.

So you were a bad tank/healer/dps on your 1st 1/2 dozen outings. Does that preclude you the right to improve and when you do, can you strike the bad ratings from your permanent record?

Imakulata said...

Klepsacovic: You might be right; for my part, I find it hard to comprehend this social interaction that doesn't work in the LFD groups (*) but would work when judging the other players. There would be reciprocity for bad behavior - but there won't be any reciprocity for bad judging, will there?

The way I can see it working is assuming that the players with negative rating are going to be roughly as good as those with positive, so it really wouldn't matter which rating you get but the players might still be motivated to get a better rating for prestige. I do not think we can assume that, though.

(*) I think it does for the most of the time - although not always - but many people claim it doesn't.

Mangara said...

I think Gazimoff has an excellent point in his latest post. Netflix manages to find movies you like based on what people who liked similar movies as you liked. This could work for the dungeon finder as well. If you liked grouping with someone and he liked grouping with someone else, then there's a higher chance that you'd enjoy grouping with that player as well.

Klepsacovic said...

@gnomeaggedon: I'd not even considered that. A decay system could do the trick, slowly moving scores toward the middle over time. Bad scores decaying faster than good scores, but all decaying slowly enough that new ratings are going to be the primary driver.

@Imakulta: In your second paragraph I'm not sure I understand what your rating system would do. Is it purely visual, with no influence on grouping? In that case it might only act as a trigger for confirmation bias: low rated players are assumed to be worse, treated worse, and rated worse, independent of their actual performance.

@Mangara: I can't seem to find that post, but it's an idea worth considering. A more direct version could be to allow players to add some more criteria to LFD, such as "fast", "all mobs", "all bosses", so that players who want to burn through quickly are in different groups than players who want to farm rep.

Mangara said...

The post I referred to can be found here:

JoeNavy said...

@Mangara Thats a really cool idea...Very indirect.

I was thinking about the "tanking bribery" people keep refering too. For people like me, who do enjoy tanking, I like to think of it as a "Thank you" gift.

Klepsacovic said...

Thanks for the link, it was a good read.

Anonymous said...

LFD = 4chan

To hell with that.

I’d rather have a reputation on my server and play with people who have an incentive to play nice, because they know I’m on their server and I’m good and I’ll be there next week, too. And next year.

If you want that community feel back on your old release-server, then skip LFD and head straight to the old whispers and friends list and trade chat.

Anonymous said...

I remember the days before the dungeon finder when we'd advertise in trade for heroics or any other dungeon... And maybe getting a whisper the next week for a heroic by someone you just made friends with in an excellent run :)

nugget said...

Ratings only have real meaning if you are familiar with the raters.


Imakulata said...

Coldbear: There's an interesting point, despite people being unhappy with the LFD tool, only a few of them switch to server-based groups. Maybe the LFD tool actually is better but people are so used to LFD's advantages (quick groups and easy replacement of leaving players) they are taking them for granted and instead they focus on the disadvantages (even though they're only perceived ones IMO).

Klepsacovic said...

@coldbear: At least 4chan is funny sometimes.

I've talked about this before, but the damage is done. So much of the population has transitioned away from manually forming groups that it's much harder now than it used to be, especially now that players congregate differently.

@nugget: Deep man, deep. Like. Woah. But yes, a good point.

@Imakulata: I'm pretty confident in the objective truth of the general statement "LFD-formed groups have worse social interaction than the groups formed before the tool." The degree of this is debatable, but LFD has definitely had negative effects.

Imakulata said...

I think it's disputable; in my opinion the LFD groups have less social interaction, whether it's for better or worse is disputable. Based on my RL experience, I think the GIFs are caused by lack of any reciprocity to their actions and the anonymity factors only little.

I agree it has some negative effects and I don't think I ever said it hadn't. On the other hand, I think there are positives (this isn't really disputed either) and the total sum is positive. It seems to me that majority of people prefers the tool over server-based groups which - in my opinion - is a strong indicator about the total sum.

Klepsacovic said...

I agree with the total sum being greater, I just don't think it's as great as it could be. But beside that, I think LFD is a drug of sorts. When it started it didn't have much of a negative effect. We all played like we were in our usual server-based groups, for a while. By the time it started to go to crap, LFD had taken over as the way to get groups and server-based formation was dead and not much of an alternative anymore. We were addicted.

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