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.
Here is generally how the dungeon finder works: you choose the roles you would like to fill and select a set of dungeons you would like to do (or all of them if you queue for a random dungeon/heroic. I imagine the random 85 heroics have the biggest pool of people). The system reports an expected wait time. This number is calculated at each of the roles you selected (DPS, healer, tank) and the average wait time for the most recent players of your role to enter each dungeon for which you are queued. The lowest wait time of all of the dungeons is the same. For the level 85 heroics, almost everyone queues for a random dungeon and everyone is eligible for the same pool of dungeons, so the wait time is the same for all of these dungeons. The system then forms groups as quickly as possible. Blizzard has said that the tool tries to group players by the quality of their gear, but with the huge disparity in wait times, it is unclear if that is still a major factor.
Players can “vote kick” or vote-to-kick a player from their group. Anyone can initiate the vote kick, and they are prompted for a reason. The reason is displayed to the other players in the group (besides the player being voted upon), and a majority (three in the case of a 5 person group) of the players must vote to remove the player for the vote kick to be successful. The vote kick abides by these rules:
- A vote to kick a member may not be initiated during, or for a short time after combat.
- A vote to kick a member may not be initiated in the first 15 minutes of a group.
- Only two members may be kicked from a group.
- Despite the above, a vote to kick a member who has disconnected can be initiated immediately.
Additionally, the system tracks the number of times a player initiated a vote kick, their voting history in vote kicks, and the number of dungeons they have completed and abandoned. Based on this data, the vote kick may have an internal cooldown if the player kicks a lot, but no cooldown if the player rarely kicks (and perhaps the above rules may be loosened). Players who voluntarily leave a dungeon are subject to a half-hour “dungeon deserter” debuff, which prevents them from queueing for half of an hour, but players who are vote kicked do not receive the debuff.
In the case of a vote kick or someone otherwise leaving the party, dungeons in progress are placed in front of the queue, ahead of players looking for a group. As long as two party members remain, the party can continue looking for replacement members. As such, abuses to get a new dungeon started are becoming more common as impatient players find loopholes. For example, if you have a friend who plays a class capable of queueing as a tank, you can queue with them and have them select “tank” as their role, and you’ll find yourself in an instant queue instead of a half-hour or longer queue. Once you enter, your friend leaves, and your group queues to find a new tank, ahead of the rest of the group. Your friend cannot queue again for half of an hour, but if they weren’t planning on doing so anyway, it probably isn’t a problem for them.
A more insidious plot that some players have witnessed are three DPS players queueing as a DPS, healer, and tank, or any combination of non-DPS roles. Once a group is found (and the entire group is in reality DPS), they tell others to tank or heal. If the players do not, they are vote kicked as soon as possible, or the three friends simply wait for them to leave, which might be pretty fast once they realize there is no real tank. Once a player leaves, the group can re-queue as DPS, and with an open dungeon, they cut to the front of the line.
The system has its benefits and its drawbacks. The abuses listed above are among the drawbacks. However, it is still an amazing and relatively new tool that has changed how we play WoW. How could the system improve? Read more to find out.