4 January 2011
| | Heartbourne
Previously, we looked at some features the Dungeon Finder could benefit from. This time, we’ll muse about how players qualify for queueing for difficult dungeons.
For Cataclysm dungeons, the game calculates an “average item level” (also called iLvl) for your character, and you may not be able certain dungeons unless your gear is powerful enough. Additionally, players must discover the dungeons actual location in the world to be able to queue for them. If players form their own groups, they can enter at will, but they must satisfy these requirements to queue for the dungeons. In Burning Crusade (before the dungeon finder tool existed), players had to complete long quest lines that took them through difficult dungeons and raids in order to access harder ones. Additionally, in order to access the heroic modes of the dungeons, players had to buy “keys” for the dungeon that required high reputation with a linked faction that nigh guaranteed that they had run the dungeon many times on regular mode. Wrath of the Lich King introduced the minimum iLvl idea when the dungeon finder was introduced, making the hardest dungeons require a higher iLvl.
One of the main problems is how the iLvl value is calculated. The system looks at all of your characters equipped items and all of the gear your character is capable of wearing in your bags. From that, it takes the highest iLvl item for each slot and calculates the average. This is the iLvl associated with your character. This system has three major flaws:
- Players have an incentive to roll on items that aren’t actually better for them that increase their iLvl.
- Players can “cheat” the system by obtaining BoE items and not equipping them.
- iLvl is not an accurate representation of a player’s abilities.
The first item needs little explanation. Mages can use daggers, so why wouldn’t a mage roll on a powerful dagger that they won’t ever use, but that would increase their iLvl? Most players would consider it rude to take the dagger if there was a class that could actually benefit from the dagger in the group, but there is a clear benefit for the mage to take it if increases his average iLvl: he can queue for more dungeons. It can be tempting to be a “ninja”; you technically “need” the item in order to queue for better dungeons, right?
3 January 2011
| | Heartbourne
Last time, we looked at the current state of the dungeon finder and vote-to-kick. How could some of the abuses and problems with the dungeon finder and vote-to-kick be fixed?
Perhaps a solution would be some sort of rating system. The game could allow you to rate other players with a simple thumbs up/thumbs down. Players with lots of thumbs-ups would be grouped with other thumbs-upped players, and players with worse ratios would have to deal with each other. The problem with this system is the potential for new players to get bad ratings from not knowing what they are doing, and I don’t think Blizzard wants to group new players with griefers, so this system doesn’t seem like it could work very well.
A second and more likely solution would be to add more social features. There have been plenty of times where I have “randomly” been placed into a group with a member of my (3,500+ member) guild. Why can’t the system be smart about placing me with people with whom I probably want to play? The system already will not place you with anyone on your ignore list, so perhaps the system could use expanded friend lists to find preferred members to group you with. There have been plenty of times where I’ve had a great experience with random players, and if they are from different servers, I currently have no way to play with them again. I’m sure that cross-server friends and groups are on the way at some point, and they will bring many benefits. However, consider the benefits of having a “white list” as well as a “black list” that you could make for dungeons. The ignore list and the friend list are currently both 50 people each, but what if you could have a 200 person white list of people you really enjoyed playing with, but don’t want on your friends list? If both of you are queued at the same time, it automatically groups you. Similarly, if you don’t like someone, add them to your black list to never be queued with them. People you are mutually friends with, as well as your guildmates, could be added to the people it will try to group you with. This operation doesn’t sound computationally simple, but Blizzard has achieved some amazing things, and the benefits sound amazing.
27 December 2010
| | Heartbourne
It gazes into your soul.
Most players have encountered the dungeon finder at some point in their carrier. Most of us use it quite frequently; whether it’s to generate a group to do a daily heroic, fill out a run with guildies and friends with more players, or to get some bonus experience while leveling, the dungeon finder has become a staple of the WoW experience.
The first thing that comes to mind for most players is the disparity in queue times for different roles. DPS characters often have to wait 25 minutes to an hour for a group, while healers experience a shorter 10-20 minute wait. Tanks, on the other hand, have almost no wait time. The inconsistency in queue times makes a lot of players unhappy, and makes the system ripe for abuse.