The WoW community has been abuzz about one of the newly announced additions to the dungeon finder in patch 4.1: Call to Arms. This feature detects when queues are long for level 85 heroics (“more than a few minutes”) (read: always) and offers additional rewards to the roles that need more representation (read: tanks) in an effort to lower queue times for other roles (read: DPS).
The rewards include extra gold, a chance at a flask or elixir, rare gems, and a chance to get some difficult to obtain non-combat pets/mounts that are available through currently soloable means. The examples Blizzard gave for pets include the Razzashi Hatchling (previously dropped in ZG, now a Stranglethorn zone drop), Cockateil (purchasable in Booty Bay), and the Tiny Sporebat (purchased when exalted wtih Sporregar.) The examples for mounts include Reins of the Raven Lord (drops in Heroic Sethekk Halls), Swift White Hawkstrider (drops in heroic Magister’s Terrace), and Deathcharger’s Reins (drops in Stratholme).
Not surprisingly, there was much QQing. Many DPS players complained along the lines “why should tanks get extra loot? All this will do is get bad tanks in the queue. I’m a great player and deserve extra goodies.” Critics of the system also add that Call to Arms can be used as many times as possible per day, while most of the mounts can only be farmed outside of Call to Arms once per day due to the heroic lockout system. They also claims it will give tanks and healers free reign to act egotistical, because Blizzard is favoring their role.
Well, all of these arguments are wrong.
The dungeon finder experience is hit or miss. If you join a group you don’t like, leaving prevents you from finding a new group for 30 minutes. If there is a troublesome player in the group, there are many, many restrictions on removing them. DPS players also have to wait 30-60 minutes just to run a dungeon.
Tanks (and healers, to a degree) are the limiting factor in the queue. Most players agree that tanking is more difficult and “mission critical” to the success of a dungeon than DPSing. The tanking role is inherently more valuable as demonstrated by the free choices of players: significantly more players DPS than tank, and you need a tank to run a dungeon. The current solution is having DPS wait ridiculous amounts of time until someone volunteers to tank. Blizzard isn’t reaching giving tanks specifically extra rewards – they are giving extra rewards to roles that the player “free market” demands.
If I played a class that could tank, I would unquestionably be more likely to run random dungeons than to farm the mounts specifically in their original sources, and I think most players would. Plus, I’d be more likely to queue solo, reducing queues, rather than run with friends or guildies. There is already an incentive of guild rep and experience for queueing with a group, so the new solo incentives will hopefully get some tanks to queue solo instead of seeking out guildies.
There are some slight imperfections with this system, but its still very early (pre-early even; its not even out). There are some classes that cannot tank. This system can’t incite them to tank unless they do so on another character. I personally don’t care about having these items on my alt, so I won’t be using Call to Arms too much. A solution is making the rewards BoA (still single use) so that I could tank some dungeons and transfer to rewards to the character of my choice.
I also think that the requirement that the desired role queue by themselves could be modified to be more appealing. For example, if lots of tanks take advantage of this system and healers are also called upon, a tank and healer should be able to queue together. In fact, being able to bring along a healer I know will perform well will drastically increase my chance of success and speed of running the dungeon, so I’d be very likely to queue if I could queue with them and get the Call to Arms rewards. Heck, allowing one DPS to queue with you would still help queues significantly and make more people use the system if they could bring a friend.
The system would also be lovely to see implemented in other dungeon brackets, like the level 68+ Burning Crusade dungeons. DPS queues are quite long for those too, and there are players who would like to do them. Adjusted-level loot bags with extra justice points, farmable mats, gold, chance at world drop loot, and not-so-hard-to-get pets could be included. Maybe even a chance at some heirloom items, perhaps even items exclusive to this system. Players should be able to flag if they can tank or heal somewhere in their UI, and if they are eligible to queue for something in a role that is in a Call to Arms, a little alert should appear somewhere, like on the minimap.
We won’t know how it will pan out until it’s implemented, but I think this is an amazing idea that will hopefully alleviate queue times and reward those willing to help other players.