Call to Arms, Dungeon Finder Impressions

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.


  1. I think there are still some inherent problems with the system, even once you get over the mumble-grumble of the DPS (admittedly, it’s hard not to). The problem is that you’re introducing a reward structure that doesn’t necessarily hand out prizes for good performance, at least of the player “in demand” at the time. While it might force some good tanks and healers into the queue, the lust over rare rewards is going to drag in a lot of the wannabes and bad, as well. It could result in gumming up the system further and make running dungeons this way even more of a chore than normal.

    I emphasize “could,” because it might go either way, but I maintain my skepticism based on previous experience with the WoW community at large.

    I don’t think this is the worst idea they’ve ever had, but it’s not the best, either. I’m not immediately seeing a problem with straight-up copying the PvP formula for CoA: Pick a dungeon (or a couple dungeons) each day that can be run for these rewards, and open up the ability to win them to everybody. This would still give those tanks and healers incentive to run *something*, it just won’t be a completely random selection. If they’re good enough, they’ve already got the gear, and shouldn’t care what dungeon it is anyway.

  2. I absolutely agree with you Ama. This has the distinct possibility of bad tanks and new flooding into the queue. But here’s where I don’t think it’ll end up gumming up the works. Firstly, (and I speak from personal tanking experience here) we all start SOMEWHERE. Hopefully this will accomplish two things: A) Bring new tanks/healers into the queue. And B) Put at least ONE nail in the coffin of the obnoxious pugger.

    I can guarentee you as soon as the “usukl2p” crowd starts flooding in the queue and harrassing new/underskilled tanks instead of HELPING them, the queues will go back to what they were.

    A word to DPS/Heals/Tanks: You’ll see a massive influx of new players (I hope) coming into your queues…be GOOD to them and teach them. Drop the ‘speed racer’ mentality and let someone LEARN for a change.

    A word to the new tanks/healers queueing up in hopes of new shinies: When help is genuinely offered. TAKE it. If you DON’T know, ASK. I’d estimate about 90% of people are willing to help if you just ask. Tanking may impart some kind of leadership, but a GREAT leader listens to his party.

  3. The basic problem I find is that there’s not really a valuable reward for doing it. I mean, on my main tank, I have most of these mounts/pets and a ton of gold to hold me over for gems and flask.

    What’s my reward in the long run then?

    Unless they start bumping out some valor, this ain’t gonna attract every tank out there.

  4. @Nextgener

    I know what you mean. On my Warrior I’m pretty maxed of gear (besides BoE trash epics / T11 Legs / and a main hand upgrade from Grim Batol – outside of Raiding of course) and I’m thinking of switching to my Resto Druid as my main character because of the Warrior changes in 4.1 will change my survivability to something I don’t think I’ll tolerate at this stage.

    Besides the gold, what’s my incentive?

  5. I think this is a great idea for the most part. This will CERTAINLY get more people playing healers and tanks, making queue times significantly shorter, although unless they give out more rewards in the future, things will go back to the shitty way they are now once tanks get the pets/mounts they want.

  6. I just happened to see on MMO-Champ today that come 4.1 they’re going to have valor/honor/conquest/jp or whatever it is conversions. Hopefully this will provided added incentive to both PvPers as well as PvEers alternative methods for gearing up and encouraging experiencing “both sides of the fence”. Which is where this can really be a great incentive aside from the goody bag and benefit all around.

  7. As far as I know, the loot bags (if not the loot itself) will be BoA instead of BoP, so you can send it to your dps main/alt while getting it on your tank character.

  8. Why is everyone complaining about bad tanks in queue? Not everyone was born to live in their parent’s basement and become a naturally talented tank. Getting more people to queue as tanks will get more people practicing tanking, period. Don’t complain about it.

  9. @John

    Your right, but:

    A: I don’t live in my basement.

    B: Being a bad tank doesn’t take a lack of experience, it takes a lack of wanting to have any basic knowledge of what tanking is in the first place. For some reason, alot of people fail to want to understand that fact at all. Be it blatant ignorance or just plain stupidity.

    Bad isn’t New, it’s just Bad.

  10. Why is everyone complaining about bad tanks in queue? Not everyone was born to live in their parent’s basement and become a naturally talented tank. Getting more people to queue as tanks will get more people practicing tanking, period. Don’t complain about it.

    Some people complain about baddies because they can. Not every tank ‘lives in their parent’s basement’..can we PLEASE stop with that already?

    The concern here, I think, comes from people wanting to PuG and not wanting to put up with the potential issues that naturally arise from putting strangers with different motivations together.

    It’s not a difficult thing to tank. I did it since BC. But I learned by ‘trial by fire’ as well as asking people who tanked for advice and I never DID stop asking. The issue is, when someone asks YOU for advice, do you give it and HOW do you give it?

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