Dungeon Finder: A Call to Arms (to queue as Prot)

As I’m sure many of you have already heard, an incentive program is being added to the Looking for Dungeon (LFD) to encourage the least represented role to actually use the system in a fully random PUG. The basic idea is that the DFT will keep tabs on which role is least represented in the system and then mark that role as the current “Call to Arms” (CTA) role. If you then queue, alone, as that role, and complete the dungeon by killing the last boss, you will get a goodie bag as a reward.

Commonly, this bag will contain gold, occasionally an uncommon quality gem, and rarely a companion pet or a mount.

Companion pets will be randomly pulled from those available Horde side *and* Alliance side, meaning that as Horde you may get a tabby cat if you’re extremely lucky. Mounts include those which you can already farm for in dungeons, such as Anzu and the skeletal horse.

Now, this is an important note for everyone to understand, so please pardon the all caps. I want to make sure everyone sees this.

THERE IS NO REWARD FROM THIS BAG THAT ISN’T ALREADY AVAILABLE, OFTEN THROUGH SIMPLER MEANS!

OK? We’re all on the same page on that? Because that right there, folks, is a fact. Seems a lot of people on various forums are raging under the delusion that this bag is going to contain something unique. Or, as I saw bemoaned, that it can contain a Spectral Tiger or currently discontinued mounts like the War Bear. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong. Completely wrong. Scandalously, idiotically wrong. If you’ve not grasped how wrong that idea is, go re-read the all caps line above until it sinks in.

So, first off, why is this a bad idea? Clearly the intention is to lower the wait time for the over populated role, which frankly is pretty much always going to be DPS. It’s a noble goal, since DPS tends to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for a random depending on the day of the week and time of day. To facilitate this, a reward is going to be offered to the bottleneck role to speed things along. On paper, this sounds great. There is, however, a factor contributing to the current state of the LFD system that must first be understood.

DPSing is relatively easy. You are seldom the reason for failure unless you do something exceptionally stupid. In five-mans, one or even two of your DPS can often die early in a boss fight, and assuming your tank and healer and the remaining DPS are good at what they do, most bosses can be three-manned. This is, in part, why DPS is so prevalent. Yes, some folks just really, really prefer DPSing as a role of choice, or love a class that can only DPS. Hunters, Mages, Locks, Rogues… if you love those classes, well, you’re DPSing and that’s that. There are, however, plenty of people who love a class that can tank or heal who choose not to due to an aversion to the responsibility that those roles entail.

Let’s be honest, the most likely point of wipe inducing failure for any group is the tank or the healer. Tank doesn’t know how to deal with a particular pull? Wipe. Tank fails to move out of a hazard and dies for it? Wipe. Healer gets distracted? Wipe. Healer doesn’t know when a boss is going to do a high AOE damage phase and hasn’t topped the group up in preparation? Wipe. DPS botches a rotation and pulls 2K less DPS than they could have? …generally not a wipe.

Think of a group as a car… If your tire blows, yeah, it could be bad, but chances are good you’ll be alright if you keep a level head. That’s like a DPS critically failing at something. If, however, your drive shaft snaps, falls out from under the car and digs a furrow into the road at 55 MPH, you’re very likely seriously screwed. That’s like the healer or tank critically failing.

What’s the point of all that? The point is that tanking and healing are high responsibility, high attentiveness, high risk of getting other people killed jobs. Folks who identify themselves as healers or tanks thrive on this. We enjoy the responsibility. We run at a hyper-aware state to ensure that our mistake doesn’t mean the group’s failure. Yes, it can be stressful, but we enjoy it because it’s who we are, and whether or not we do it for PUGs probably isn’t going to be greatly swayed by the offer of minor rewards. If we’re going to use the LFD tool at all, it’ll be as tank or healer anyway.

So, who is this incentive really aimed at then? It’s aimed at two groups of people. First, those who are tanks or healers and who will use the LFD tool more if offered a reward. Second, those people who are not tanks or healers but who will try to fill those roles when offered a significant enough reward. From the folks I’ve touched base with, it seems to me that the first group is in the extreme minority.

How bad can it be though? This change might encourage people who wouldn’t otherwise have tried to tank or heal to give it a try. They might like it. They might find it’s their new favorite things to do, and WoW as a whole might see a new surge in tanks and healers because of it. That’s absolutely true, and it’s really the best case scenario. The S Rank ending if you will. I hope that’s what happens. However, I’m nothing if not cynical, and I foresee a much darker outcome.

I see a future in which people with zero passion or even knowledge of these roles are queuing up just to get a reward. I see people forced to deal with a flood of uneducated, unprepared, ungeared Arms, Fury, Ret, Unholy and Frost players trying to tank without even being the right spec. I see Cat druids trying to Bear tank without even picking up the talent that makes them immune to crit. I see Boomkin trying to heal without Spirit gear, because they geared for Hit assuming they’d never heal. It’s like the End Times, but with horrible tanks and healers and less Antichrist and Rapture.

To use a real world analogy, a friend of mine who herself was an elementary school teacher once went on about the concept of teacher pay increases. “It’s a difficult topic,” she said, “because there’s a sweet spot you need to hit. People who genuinely love teaching should be able to live comfortably while providing such a valuable service, so you can’t pay us too little. However, pay us too much and people who have no business teaching will go after the jobs because it’s good pay, not because they care about educating our kids.”

This is a very similar situation. I don’t disagree with the concept of paying the bottleneck roles to do more dungeons. I do, however, feel that the reward of mounts is probably going too far past the sweet spot. That is almost surely going to encourage a lot of people who have neither the capacity nor the legitimate desire to tank or heal to take on those roles. Not because they care about doing them well, but because they care about the reward.

Of course, I could be wrong. I hope I am. With any luck, at least the aspiring Prot Warriors may find their way here and get a dose of knowledge.

 

((UPDATE: The bag from the rewards is going to be BoA, so you can send it and anything you didn’t loot from it to another character. That’s great for those angry that DPS wouldn’t be able to get a bag by any means, but it doesn’t do anything to alleviation my concerns expressed above.))

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~ by Udiyvli on 04/07/2011.

3 Responses to “Dungeon Finder: A Call to Arms (to queue as Prot)”

  1. Your “wrong wrong wrong” needs more Kevin Spacey in Superman Returns. ;-)

    “But the bags will…”
    “WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG!”

  2. I don’t think its that simple. Personally I have toons that can do all roles. I tend to play whichever toon I feel like playing, based on mood, time, etc. Having this will make me more likely to play my tanking toons. It gives me that little bit more incentive to put up with the usual headaches of tanking ( impatient DPS, undergeared healers, or even my own shortcomings).

    Will it drastically change my playstyle? Probably not, but for sure I’ll be playing my tanks a bit more.

    • Keep in mind though that that’s just your reaction to it. I’m capable of playing all three roles as well, so good on you for being willing and able to learn and perform all roles well. :)

      Unfortunately, most people aren’t like that. I’ve seen plenty of Arms warriors queue as a tank to get an instant pop, then ask who’s tanking the run. This is exactly the type of behavior that an incentive system is likely to encourage. Sure, it’ll also encourage people who really can tank or heal to do so… but I still feel, from experience anyway, that those cases will be a fair minority to the cases of wrong spec/gear folks queuing as one or the other simply for a reward.

      I mean, goodness, there are plenty of horribly bad tanks *now* that do have the spec and gear right and are just… bad at it. Remember how bad it was in early Wrath when so many people who never tanked before made DKs and suddenly fancied themselves as tanks? Pretty sure we’ll be looking at basically that again. But with Cata heroics ><

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