Tuesday, October 21, 2014

3 Ways to Fix the New and Lacking Group Finder

Blizzard introduced a new group finder in the game which is a fantastic tool, in theory, but was implemented not only lacking in ability and usefulness, but seemingly more of an in development stage than a completed product.  It doesn't even seem as far along as a beta and most definitely not something that should have been released to the general public yet.  It is not a complete tool and could be leaps and bounds better, but I have some suggestions that might make it so.

1) Sorting:

The new group finder has only been out for a week and I am already beyond sick and tired of looking through it for what I want.  If I am looking for a pug on my hunter, which at the moment is 578, I do not want to be joining groups that have a 499 item level requirement for SoO heroic (never mind why anyone thinks you can do it with a group of 499 people).  I would prefer to get a group that is filled with like geared players for a quick kill.  It would be nice to have an option to show only groups that have a 570+ item level requirement to join.

Instead I have to page through group after group after group with 499 requirements, 580 requirements, and other such things that are completely useless to me.  I am not going to join the 499 group any more than I would be capable of joining the 580 group because I do not fit in with either one of them.  I do not fit in the lower one because it is not my intention to carry a bunch of under geared people and I do not fit in the 580 because to them I am under geared and I am sure they are not looking to carry me.  Now, who is capable of playing their class gets put to the side here, because you really can not tell skill by an item level, but the chances of success usually, but not always, go up with the higher the item level people have.  So even if I consistently beat people in 585 or better gear, if a 580 group were to take me, a 578, they would still call it carrying me as I was below their requirement.  Hence the reason I do not fit there either.

So for sorting option one, item level.  Something like the auction house where you put the levels you want to search for gear for, I could out 570-578 requirements to sort them out and only see groups looking for that.

For the next part of sorting, I think there should be an option to search for what people are looking for.  I tried to snag a group on my healer the other day and once again was wasting my time paging through junk listing after junk listing trying to find groups that needed healers.  I even went so far as to type healer in the search bar and looked that way but for some odd reason it still showed me whatever the hell it wanted to.  Even listings that did not have the word healer listed anywhere.

So for sorting option two, role.  So if I wanted to heal it I could look for groups that were in need of a healer only.  No need to show me group after group that are full on healers and only need tanks.

Another thing was seeing all these groups that were for normal or mythic.  I have no need, nor desire, to do normal.  I also just wanted a quick run, not to possibly work progression with a group.  Not that I am adverse to that, but on a night I just want to put in some killing time for quick loot and a shot at an heirloom, learning the fights with a group of strangers that do not want to use voice chat is not exactly my idea of a good time.  I just want to do a quick, hopefully garrosh only, heroic kill and be gone.

So for sorting option three, difficulty.  I don't understand why this one was not baseline without even thinking about it.  How did this go live without a sort by difficulty option, seriously.  It is so unrealistic that it went live without one that there might be one and I just never noticed, if that is the case, they should make it more noticeable.

On each of my characters I am looking for different things.  My shaman of course wants the shaman gear, so getting a group at shamans would be nice.  One hunter needs nothing from normal, so a garrosh only kill would be nice.  Another hunter is in all mythic gear except for my two trinkets, so a sha, shaman or siegecrafter might be nice to start with.  My priest needs a helm that will just never drop so a thok starting point would be a decent place to be because I could use a tier piece too.  You get the idea.  Sure I could start anywhere and work with the group to get to the bosses I want, but why not look for a group that is on the boss I want first, to see if I do not need to work the previous bosses with a group of strangers.

So for sorting option four, on boss.   If I want to start at shaman, let me put that as a search option, to only show groups that are on shaman right now and recruiting for that.  Sure it might end up being a very short list looking for a boss in the middle, but it would not hurt for me to start my search there.  And if I find nothing for me I can step back to willing to start at jug, or willing to start at gal, or, well, you get the idea.

Loot option are important too.  I can not tell you the number of times I saw someone leaving the group and they post something like, leaving group because of loot setting master looter.  Is that some sort of addon?  I see it so often.  Some people will not join a group with master looter.  Some will not join a group without master looter to stop ninjas and hoping the master looter is paying attention and not going to give a DPS trinket to the tank as a main spec roll, or something like that.  Now with the addition of the personal loot setting I am sure we will see many people that would prefer that in the pug setting.

So for sorting option five, loot setting.  It just makes sense if you want no drama in a pug to use the personal loot option.  It seems like it was created with pugs in mind.  So why not give us a way to sort just by that.

2) Search:

There is a search bar, yes, but it doesn't work at all as I mentioned earlier.  Like when I was looking for garrosh only groups that were on garrosh and I typed to search for garrosh it gave me so many groups that were not even on garrosh, near garrosh or even had the word garrosh anywhere in their description.  That is not how a search is supposed to work. 

The sort option will surely help some there.  But not for everything.  A better search option would be nice even if the sort option would really fix a lot of the issues.  I know people hate doing belts, I can do them and I am used to doing them, so I figured maybe if I search for a group that needed someone for belts I could get an instant invite.  So I typed belts and got a ton of results.  Not even one of them had anything to do with belts.

A fully functional search feature that actually works like a true search should would be a nice addition to the group finder.  The one in game now does not even remotely come close to working, as I said, this release of the group finder isn't even as quality as a beta release would be.  When not even the search option works, the system needs work.

3) Solo Listing:

One of the best things about the group finder this group finder replaced was that you could list your name and be invited instead of having to search for a group and wait in the hopes they will accept your request to join.  The solo listing option was also perfect for groups for world bosses which were more of a "come one come all" sort of thing.  People would list their names under ordos and just wait for an invite.  No need to search for an ordos group, just list and sooner or later you will get an invitation.

I can see why for something like heroic raids and mythic raids this option would not be as good because you can't just randomly invite everyone to it like you can to a celestial kill, but it still serves a purpose in game to have this option to just throw your name out there and wait for it to stick somewhere. I am honestly baffled why they removed this in favor of what we now have and did not incorporate it into what we now have so we had both options.  It makes absolutely no sense.

I wanted to find a celestial group on my mage, still never got the gloves, and it took me a while to find a group looking for people.  When I did find a group it was with 5 people, no thank you.  When I finally found a second one it had 1 person in it.  Third one I found, 1 person in it.  I eventually found a group, on my very own server thank you very much, but this shows you one of the reasons that just listing your name would be better.  While I might not have requested to join the 5 person one and most definitely would have never requested to join the 1 person groups, if my name was listed, along with dozens of others, and I was invited to a group with only one person, I would sit and wait knowing it would fill in because you had a list of people to invite instead of having to wait for people to ask to join.  Most people will not ask to join an empty or near empty group, but once there are a few people they might request to join but getting that few people is hard because who requests to join an empty group?  Starting a group like this would be harder, in my opinion, when compared to having people solo list and just sending them invites.

I looked around for about 30 minutes trying to find a group for my shaman healer.  It is only a 556 item level being I have not really played it much this expansion, but I was looking for a group that needed a healer.  After paging through so many things, which once again sort will help fix this problem, I got tired of looking for a group and just gave up.  I would have so much rathered list my name in the system saying 556 healer looking for garrosh only and then I can go around and do other things instead of wasting my time looking through a million groups to never find one that was where I wanted or the item level acceptable for me.

This is where solo listing works and is a good thing.  Not only just for celestial groups or ordos groups, even if that is more so where they excel.  It allows people to throw their name in the mix and actually "play" the game instead of sitting there looking for groups and asking for invites.  I would mush rather be out farming warbringers while waiting for an invite on my hunter from the solo listing than spending those 30 minutes looking for a group myself.  Call it lazy, because it is, but I call it an option.  If I choose to list my name and then hope for an invite, shouldn't it be my choice?

End Note:

There are probably more suggestions out there that could make the group finder better but the fact of the matter is that in the current release it is just not really as useful of a tool as it is capable of being.  It is severely lacking.  It feels like a half release, a not ready for prime time release, and over all unfinished product.  Lets hope blizzard does not leave it this way and by warlords it actually becomes a more useful and effective tool, because I don't know about you, but I love, absolutely love, the idea of having the ability in game to assemble groups. 

The only problem I see is that come warlords we can not do mythic with a group like that, which, in my option, kind of defeats the purpose of the system.  I can raid heroic all I want with my guild.  Being my server is not a very progressed server, if I want more progression, I need to group with other people from other servers and I would like to be able to do mythic with them.  I do not want to leave my guild and switch servers just to play the game.  I should be able to do so on whatever server I am on, and that means mythic groups should be capable of being formed this way.

There is one other issue I would love to touch on that I know I have heard many concerns over already and I tend to agree with them.  Having people ask for permission to join a group and then possibly getting denied or ignored is not good for player morale.  Yes, I too would decline a bad player or someone that came off as the might be one, but I can see that player after getting denied over and over getting down on themselves and possibly quitting the game.  It is not good for the community for people to constantly be told no.  Even if they are being told no for the right reason.  Sooner or later, they will just stop trying.  The solo listing would help with this, it would decrease the feeling of being turned down that would turn off some people, upset others, and make even some quit the game because they feel as if they are alone in what is supposed to be an MMO.  Either way, it just points out another reason why the system they put in place is a bad system with a good idea in it current implementation.

Do you like the new group finder?  Do you think it can be better?  If so, how?


  1. One huuuuge flaw is that it is limited by region. Bening on a german realm I only see other german groups listed, and that's not many despite being the biggest non english realm group. I can't even imagine how it looks like for small groups like italian realms. As annoying OQ might have been, it's advantage was the huge playerbase it pooled from across all of europe. I played with french people, with russians, italians, spanish and of course with lots of people on english realms (many scandinavians there apart from british). Most of the time it was fun playing with 'foreigners' and the language barrier was hardly ever a problem since OQ was used for pugging rather easy content like flex, scenarios or world bosses.

    I'll give the tool one or two tries next few days but until now I wasn't able to find a single group, neither for flex nor for world bosses et al. I really feel kinda cripppled on the spontaneous pugging side, as i depended a lot on OQ to get things done, I am playing mostly during off hours... I fear that i will have to resort to openraid for everything (good tool for planned pugs like mythic, not so good for spontaneous pugging)...

    So, what they should add before anything else is, imho, an option to say which language one can speak, so the tool can link us with all matching languages (eg for me it'd be en, de and fr). I'm sure a huge majority of europeans is able to communicate in english and it would become the standard again without forcing those who can't speak english into english groups.

    1. Odd, it is the exact opposite by me. The english and spanish and oceanic realms are all thrown together with disregard. Maybe I can see the english and spanish ones together as they are both US but why are the oceanic thrown in there when we can not group with them and they can not group with us.

      That is actually a good idea. Adding a language filter, so it only shows you groups with which you can communicate.

  2. Hey Grump, Off topic, but what outposts are you planning to choose while lvling in warlords? You've mentioned your garrison building choices before, but not your outposts. Being as how its 10k gold to switch an outpost, I want to limit the number of times I do this.

    I'm currently thinking:

    Smuggler's run
    Gladiator's arena

    1. I have not really given it too much thought but there is one I am absolutely certain about. The stable in nagrand.

      Sure the siege machines will help a lot when grinding goblin reputation and killing all the elite mobs to speed it along sometimes fun wins out over efficiency. And being able to attack while mounted, more so as a hunter, can not be matched.

      In the spires I really like, and most likely will take, the one that gives you the experience boost and the hearthstone back to your base there. It will really help while leveling. Sure, once you reach max it is useless, but leveling is more important.

      For the other zones, maybe I will figure it out as time goes on. None really jump out to me otherwise.

  3. Blizzard have said that this is only a foundation for add-on authors to build on.

    I'm not sure why the Germans (and later Italians/Spanish) were segregated from the rest of the Europeans into their own servers anyway. I can understand people wanting to just speak their own language, but then you can't have it both ways.

    1. One should be able to pick the languages one wants to be playing in. I dont mind en ge or fr at all. Only the russians were difficult to communicate with but the pugged content was so easy it didnt matter.

    2. Well, as I do not now for sure but, from what people said, blizzard is not releasing any information which would allow addon makers to make the group finder better. If that is the case then what they said doesn't mean anything, it is what they are doing that matters. And what they should be doing is adding more to it, not taking away from it, which they did by removing the ability to solo list.

    3. Interesting. I hope they expand the API then. The oQueue author said even simple things like increasing the number of results, were unavailable via API. But then I just saw he is trying to figure out what is possible (and push the boundaries, I assume).

    4. (whoops forgot to give my regards earlier)

      "oQueue is not quite dead yet ... v3.0.0 is now available.
      UPD: now works x-realm using group finder back end (thx blizz for the hotfixes!)"

      oQueue 3.0.0 - back from the dead

      I'll have to give it a shot when I get a chance.

      * https://solidice.com/forums/12/topic/final-update-oqueue-v205

    5. If they make OQ so it does not automatically add people to my real ID without my permission, then, and only then, will I ever give it a try again.

      As long as it does things against my will, without me knowing and adjusts parts of my game automatically I will consider it nothing more than a hacking tool and not a useful addon. No matter how awesome it sounds.

  4. Sorry if this shows up twice..

    Looking at the patch notes for OQ 3.0, they removed those features you dislike (including the battle.net communications and 'mesh' network). So it should be pulling all data directly from the Blizzard API, instead of peer-to-peer from other battle.net user ids. Nice. I never really liked having to deal with the odd friend request from another oq user.

    I haven't had the opportunity to test out the new interface yet, but love the idea of being able to filter groups based on these criteria. The idea of having to skim down 10s of 100s of groups sounds absolutely painful. Even an option like "show me all raids that match my gear score" would be better than nothing..

    1. Oh, I would LOVE that. I might actually attempt to use it again. It was too intrusive to be of any use to someone that did not want to be bombarded by invites and people all the time.

      If you do try it out please let me know how it goes. After my last experience with it I will not even attempt until I hear some solid decent reviews. Otherwise it will remain on my "pay no mind" list.

      But if they do a good job, keep it from taking control of my real ID, and offer the options I seek, I will most definitely try it again.

  5. http://i.imgur.com/RoTQ6W0.png


    The New LFG Tool to a DPS