Well my first summary post ran much longer in the first section than I estimated so I have now made this a multi part review. In this part I will focus on the new Looking for Group system. Also given that I started this post right after my part one and 2 weeks have passed it will be very different than what I was first picturing.
I hope by now we all know what this system is or at least to what it references. Put simply it is a dynamic automatic group building tool that will match players across servers within a given battle group.
Is it good? Yes.
Is it great? Some would say, I put it somewhere between good and great.
Could it be better? Like all programs, yes.
The caveat with the last one, could it be better, is to do this additional metrics or parameters would be needed. Some of these metrics could come from the Battle.Net upgrade that is going on behind the scenes. When we can start to communicate with friends across realms and maybe even battle groups the social networking aspects of Battle.Net could be leveraged to refine the matching system.
Currently mods like Elitist Group can do this a limited extent, however it is all client side and is limited. If new social metrics are included in the Battle.Net part of the client for use with the LFG system it opens up possibilities beyond the just queue and hope for the best. If we are able to rate people both for a personal rating and a global performance (thumbs up)/(thumbs down) on both the character/player/guild level it could lead to a better LFG experience overall. Additionally the system should also track how many times a player quits a dungeon half way through or gets vote kicked. However like the star rating system in Ebay there should be a way for a person to defend themselves from undo elitist idiots and the occasional ISP hiccup which is not the fault of Blizz or the player.
Actually I hope when the next full version of Battle.Net is released that it becomes a separate client than the WoW or Starcraft Client. That then has the ability to launch or call the other individual clients with a hand off of credentials so those of us that multi-box or may have a Startcraft and a WoW running at the same time don’t have to constantly re-authenticate each time we close the client.
Personal Metrics and Preferences
5-Mans and Raids
The ideas options I am going to list here are the ones that I think would be best to implement as they are impartial and are not directly abusable as some of the social networking system could. Performance recaps after each instance run. We all know how WoW Web Stats and other logging mechanisms work for raiding. Just extend this to 5 mans except where it is a client side action the recap information would be server side with summary information displayed to the client. The player specific performance summary would then be stored and compiled/updated daily and weekly like the pvp honor gains and kills.
- If not Tank Role # of times pulled Threat
- DPS in Combat
- DPS inside 5 second rule. So if not casting dps is not calculated.
- Damage Taken
- Total Damage Taken by Party
- Total Damage Healed by Character
- % of Total Damage dealt by Party in Instance on KoS mobs not critters.
- # times went AFK
- # times went idle for more than 30 seconds.
I realize this is a lot of extra information and if something like this was ever implemented there would have to be a lot of considerations as to where to put and store the massive amount of data that is generated by WoW.
Additionally this should be extended to logs from raid IDs. Accessible when logged into the armory. Go to the character view the Raid IDs they are associated with and get a direct download CVS/XML or some other format. This will then remove the out of range issues that arise with current client side information gathering tools. This would also allow players to track who is using the IDs that they are associated, which would also help with some of the drama that has occurred with raid ID stealing in the past.
Training Quests – Rated Performance Quests
I thought of this concept when I was talking on Ventrilo with other members of Conspiracy . We were discussing at the time the fail dps, tank, or healers that we sometimes encounter in groups. There needs to be a way to evaluate people that is not tied to gear or the groups of people they associate with. You can be pulled through almost any and all content if the people you are with have enough gear.
During the discussion we talked about the Argent Dailies, yes they got repetitive but they taught you how to joust. So for sake of brevity what we need are a series of repeatable quests that train and rate our ability performing different tasks related to the roles that we can perform. These quests would be repeatable and not just daily. They can be a good way to practice group mechanics while solo playing so you don’t have to rely on others to practice. Matticus made a post about things he learned about group healing while doing a quest.
On a separate note if we are going to continue to use vehicles in quests, dungeons and raids, we need a sandbox area where we can practice how to use the vehicle. NPCs to use other parts of a multiple seat vehicle would be useful if the other positions have something to do as well. The abilities of the practice vehicle need to be the same as the abilities of the ones we use when it matters. To do otherwise robs us of the ability to know what we are doing and are not just thrust into something and say do it. We play the game hopefully because we like playing our chosen class not some vehicle.
Oh the rating we gain from the quests would also need to show up based on our Battle.net account. So that even if we see the lvl 30 or freshly hit level cap n00b we can see if they are truly new or have done something on another character.
Now this system would be completely optional but giving more neutral metrics to use when evaluating people when we get randomly thrown together is always appreciated and really needed. Most the add-ons that do this for us now are resource hogs and contribute more to the Lag we all experience than most people realize.
This last one could be problematic but something needs to be implemented that allows us when we random queue to have a little more control over where we end up. In the simplest of implementations it would be that as long as more than 5 dungeons are selected it will count as a random for purposes of daily rewards and such. As a tank there are some dungeons that I just won’t tank. That really only leaves H-HoR but at least one of my tanks is getting to the point of being geared enough to get thrown into queue for it and I just don’t want to tank it. I don’t mind tanking any other instance but I completely despise that dungeon. There are only 2 ways that it is a viable dungeon. Either have good enough gear to survive it while “cheating” by hiding in a corner. Or to completely over gear it to the point that there is no reason to run the damn thing. I think that is my real problem with the dungeon. It is tuned such that the only time it is manageable is when you have such a level of gear that you don’t need anything out of it. It is tuned like the damn heroic instances in Burning Crusade. They were a waste of time and not worth the repair bill for the amount of time and frustration that came with running them.
Another metric that would add a nice dimension is if we can’t rule out what dungeons we want to have the possibility of running at least let us put a weighting rank on each dungeon.
Anyway I could get more in detail on these and take another month to write this post however I want to get these memes out there now and someday hopefully something in some game will come of it. Who knows someday if I ever get involved in working on or creating a game I will push for this type of freedom in similar systems.