Tuesday, April 5, 2011

LFD: What Matters More?

When the looking for dungeon system came out it changed the playing field for many of the people in the game.  I know it did for me.  Over the time it has been out it has been a wonderful thing and a horrible thing.  Sometimes it has actually been both at the same time.

There are pros and cons to the before and the after. Lets take a look at just a few of them.

Finding groups on your server helped you make connections. (it is how I found my guild)
People did not act like jerks as often because there was an accountability factor.
Ability to pick and choose the classes for the dungeon.

Sometimes you could spend 3 hours and still not get a group.
If the daily was a horrible dungeon, you did not do it.
Risk of not being in the in group that runs all the time.

No need to wait for guild to be on.
No need to sit in a city spamming trade for hours on end.
Ability to do two things at once.

Lack of community feeling.
No control over the quality of players you are put with.
Stuck with classes that might not be ideal.

I am really torn.  I miss the community where you got to know people that were on your server when on the other hand I do not miss having to spam for 3 hours to get a dungeon in.

The old way if we assembled a guild group and needed a healer we would pug one and go do the daily dungeon.  If the healer liked the group and was looking for a guild it was the perfect recruitment tool. 

With the LFD system if the same thing happens, even if the healer loved your group, you are not going to recruit them because that would mean a server transfer and then even if they were willing to pay for one there is still the community that they had gotten used to that they would need to leave. 

No one is going to leave a place they know people to server hop to a casual guild on another server.  Maybe a realm first or high world rank guild, but not a casual guild that raids once or twice a week.

The old way I never had any alts worth mentioning because it was bad enough trying to gear up one and find a group for one.  It took forever to get a group and even if the runs where always quick you did not want to log on to another character and have to do it all over again.  For me at least, without countless hours to spend on the game, before the LFD only one geared character was a possibility and even at that, it was hard to keep up being you could not get your daily in every day.

With LFD it was a brand new world and gearing up became a process, not a challenge. When my priest hit 80 and we were short on healers I went and crafted myself a few pieces of gear, spammed randoms for a day and was ready to roll the next day in the current raid tier with all acceptable gear for raiding.  If I wanted to I could do that with every alt I had.  One or two days of work and you were raid ready.  Gear was easy, skill was up to the person of course.

It really was not a question about which one to choose in wrath.  Long ass waits trying to assemble a group for a dungeon or LFDs you can spam and gear up while out making money, questing, doing whatever you wanted.  The dungeons were quick and easy and even a character in fresh greens could hold their own in them if they where good.

Cataclysm changed the playing field by having longer dungeons and dungeons that required a little bit of knowledge and some minor reaction speed.  If the dungeons where the way they used to be then the LFD would not be an issue.  Dealing with people with less knowledge and lower reaction speed is not an issue when the content is not heavy on mechanics like cataclysm dungeons are.

Once you introduce mechanics you need people with skill.  Don't believe me?  You should have saw some of the pugs I went into AQ filled with 80s that wiped on twin emperors.  A level 60 raid that could be face rolled by people with even a fraction of the brain power needed to add 2 + 2 and groups of 80s would still fail horribly at it.  No one would listen to whoever knew the mechanics and tried to explain because this is old content, we do not need to worry about mechanics.  Their words, not mine.

In wrath the choice was to run occasionally, 3 hours of trying to find a group or queue up and get a nice fast and easy run.  So there really was no choice.  The sacrifice of not having the community connection was overshadowed because of the incredible ease of use.

In cataclysm the choice is actually difficult.  You can queue and take your chances that you might be lucky enough to get into a group that doesn't suck or you can try to assemble a group through trade and choose people you know are capable of doing the dungeon with ease but it will still take a long time to do.  Now it is actually a choice.

The missing part is the community.  You used to run with people on your server, you knew who ran every day and you knew who was good and who you wanted to run with.  After the LFD being out so long you do not know people in your community like you used to.  You know your guild, maybe people that used to be in your guild or people you ran with on occasion in a pug for VoA or something.

Going back and rebuilding the sense of community is the only way to fix this problem but people are resistant to that.  They have gotten, on average, to the same stage I am in.  They got used to quick and easy and guess what, they liked it.

Pandora's box has been opened for lack of a better analogy.  Daily dungeons are a requirement for a majority of the players to get gear and as odd as it sounds even if they do not need gear doing dungeons is part of the grind.  I do not need anything from valor points any more and I still do it because the grind is part of the addiction to the game.  Everyone has gotten used to the grindy part of the game being easy and changing that has not been good for the game over all.  People want what they had before back.

If they never introduced LFD then no one would complain about the quality of the groups.  No one would complain about them being long.  No one would complain about them having mechanics some people have issues with.  No one would complain because no one had ever gotten used to quick and easy and no trade spamming required group assembly.

Now is the time we need to evaluate our needs for doing the daily grind known as the daily heroic.

What matters more?

Quick and easy runs or ease of group assembly.

If you want quick and easy runs you will go with guild or spend the time hand assembling a group.

If you want ease of group assembly you will queue up and go do some tol barad dailies, pick some herbs, troll trade, whatever floats your boat, while you wait.

Right now it is a case of what matters more.

Personally, I had a taste of what the good life was like.  I don't want to give that back.  I want what I had back.  They opened Pandora's box, they can't close it now.  I do not want to decide.  I want what I used to have.  Quick and easy & ease of assembly.

Everything I mention here is for nothing really anyway because as we all know, in time, all dungeons will be nerfed to the ground and people will get better gear.  This will mean that we will be back to the wrath LFD system sooner or later anyway.  So I question this, why not sooner?

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