LFD needs more options for group formation

| Tuesday, February 28, 2012
What are you trying to do when you use the LFD tool?

"Find a group" is the simple, useless answer. It only leads to the question, "What is the group for?" So let's ask that, what is the group for?

I'm not the first person to suggest that LFD have style options, such as "quick badges" or "reputation". But I'm suggesting those again. I don't think they go far enough. For players running BC content, they may want a group with only level 70s, in order to get justice points from bosses. Add a "level 70 only" option. A similar option may be useful for players who want to stay at 80.

Another option could be "incomplete groups", meaning that if there is a shortage of DPS, which I've seen at some levels, a group may be formed with only two DPS rather than the usual three. The group would be able to start the instance but would stay in the queue, exactly like if you had formed a group and a player left. This would allow groups to form much more quickly in low-population levels and content, such as in the level 70 and 80 heroics. Usually it is a healer which is missing, but I have seen groups with a healer, tank, and two DPS, but unable to start because of a third, despite being fully capable of completing the instance.

Since this could result in many DPS being dropped into partial instances which they might not want, add an option for "no bosses dead", so that players are not dropped into incomplete instances and then possibly saved to a failing group. Or dropped into an instance where they boss they needed is already dead. However, add a slight bonus if players join an instance in progress, so that partially-cleared instances do not become impossible to complete due to lack of players.

Unfortunately, this may end up adding so many new features and options that the tool becomes unwieldy or fails to form groups. If I pick "speed run" and "no bosses dead" am I going to be stuck waiting forever? What if I pick "only level 70" but not "partial groups"? Is that an option? The way Blizzard displays this options and features would matter, whether we can see all our options and have some sense of how they will affect the speed of forming a group, as well as how they might interact. Having a long checklist of options may result in too many players segmented off, which may mean that Blizzard has to make some mutually exclusive or inclusive, so that "level 70 only" mandates "partial groups" while "speed run" is not an option.

In the ideal situation, there would be such a perfect ratio of tanks, healers, and DPS, and in a sufficient total population, that no options would be needed beyond picking a role and picking a location. If we don't like the group we get, we can drop and try again, with little time lost for anyone. Sadly, we play in a world of shortages, which reduce our flexibility, so we need tools to compensate. We're left picking between a lot of imperfect fixes.


Syl said...

..or maybe people just need to be re-introduced to a world where you run dungeons for others, not just for yourself. and of course no tools at all, good old "make friends on your own server, nub".

I know this wasn't really your point, but it's something I've been thinking about lately. half of the grouping up complexities today are due to people thinking that a dungeon run must always serve THEM, every time. I used to play other MMOs where I got lucky if one campaign every two days actually benefited me - a whole group of people just joining to help ME with no big benefit to themselves. FFXI for example had many class specific quests and also storylines and class-specific bosses/lootz that required big enterprises to join just so that 1 person could maybe get 1 step of his questline done or get a shot at an item. it was normal to help others more often than you got helped yourself. it was fucking great. i don't think I need mention what this did for cooperation and social bonding.

nowadays that concept must be BEWILDERING.

Kring said...

You will never be added to a group in progress if you select specific dungeons. Only the random option puts you into groups in progress. And there you're rewarded with the satchel for giving up the right to select what you want.

The level 70 heroic would be even easier to fix for Blizzard. Just never ever add player above level 70 to a heroic. Heroics are end game content, there's no reason why you should or would use them to level past level 70.

Unfortunately Blizzard doesn't like you to leave the rails. It's therefore unlikely they are going to do that.

Klepsacovic said...

@Syl: What are you, a communist?

@Kring: Completely blocking anyone over 70 creates a different problem, a deadzone of sorts. A crafter might outlevel the heroics without getting the patterns, something which can easily happen given only a single level to run them. At level 71 they aren't going to be able to solo them, so they're locked out until they are high enough and overgeared enough, which could be a while. Granted, this isn't the biggest problem around.

The heroics are also a useful bandaid to the "let's run two instance for five levels" problem. If they removed the xp nerf, then the heroics will be a huge source of leveling content.

What I'd love to see is for players to get justice points, with level 70 getting the full 5, graduating down to 0 at 75.

Kring said...

They can still run normals above level 70. There are enough level 70 normals to add variety while leveling.

If they reward less XP, XP should be bumped to match the XP from heroics. And patters should be changed to drop in both.

I think that's much easier to implement then changing the LFD. And the effect would be the same.

Dan said...

I think Blizzard is missing a golden opportunity with LFD/LFR, and that is restricting the search for either to realm only.
I wouldn't be surprised if TOR, Tera and/or Guild Wars 2 would add in such an option. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

Klepsacovic said...

@Kring: I like your suggestion more than my own.

@Dan: If this became too widespread, then low-population realms could once again find themselves short of players to fill the groups, recreating one of the problems cross-realm was meant to fix (the other being leveling, which effectively turns all realms into low-population).

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