The Random Dungeon Tool and You (tankishly)
Perhaps the most talked about new feature of patch 3.3 (aside from of course Icecrown Citadel) has to be the new Random Dungeon tool. And with good reason. I think it’s impact will be much, much larger than was expected, and it may have some repercussions that will change the face of the game forever.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot here to love. It gives you badges, 2 of the new, shiny Emblem of Frost for the first one every day, and 2 extra Emblem of Triumph for every one after that.
Another feature that I think is often overlooked is that if you feel the need to hard-core emblem-farm, you can do so all day long. While the instances you have done will show a lockout on an individual basis, you can still be directed back into them as a “random dungeon”. This means that your stack of Emblems of Triumph are only limited by the amount of time you, the player, are willing to dedicate to farming them. And let’s be honest here, there’s an awful lot of really good gear to be had with those emblems.
Take your friends
Another feature that I like is that you can join as a group. Say you’ve got a friend or a guildie or 4 that want to go run stuff together, a couple of clicks, and you’re signed up in the que, looking for whatever pieces you’re lacking. Even better, if you sign in as a complete party, it’s just ‘FWOOSH’ to the dungeon with you.
That’s another aspect of the new tool that I absolutely love. I can be wherever, doing whatever, and sign up for a group, and ‘ploop” I’m in the dungeon! No more flying all the way across Northrend to do a heroic, then flying all the way back to keep working on that quest chain or whatever you were farming. Step into the dungeon from wherever, step back out to where you were. This obviously saves a good deal of time, as well as gold, as you’re no longer paying the FlightMasters the fares they ask to send you all over the continent. Plus, if you’re feeling odd, and going back and doing old dungeons or something, you aren’t stuck who knows where, half an hour from an instance if you finally find a group.
If you’re solo
Yet another useful side of this tool is for those players that find themselves unguilded. Suddenly, you can get runs fairly easliy, even without the support-structure of a guild for mates to run with.
While there are some overwhelmingly good things about the tool, there are a few things I’m not so crazy about also. Honestly though, they’re mostly things that are just the other side of the coin from points above. But on to what I dislike.
It’s well, random
Ok, there’s a certain amount of excitement when you get that ‘dungeon is ready’ message, and you wait for the loading screen to pop up, but really, I sort of like knowing what I’m doing. It let’s me be a little more prepared mentally, though honestly, for me, there’s really only one really challenging heroic out there, that being Halls of Reflection, assuming I have a decent group with me. So that one’s kind of a nit-pick.
If you’re not in a guild group, you have no idea who you’re getting stuck with
Now granted, this is not really any different than finding a PuG group the old way, though then you only had to keep a list of people that you didn’t want to group again with from your server, now it’s cross server, and you just can’t keep track of all those names. And honestly, where it used to seem that you got stuck with undergeared noobs with the old system, that doesn’t seem to happen as much now. At least not to me. I basically have 4 categories that I group people I run with into. They are as follows
Wow, they’re good!
These are the people that I would actively seek out to group with again. This is the healer that I don’t see health bars moving with, on anyone. This is the hunter that I see misdirecting to me on every pull. It’s the shadow priest that throws a heal because it needs thrown, and the main healer has to move out of bad stuff. It’s the DPSer that remembers to bring a stray add back to me, not try and run away, and make me chase half way to the entrance off the instance trailing a pack behind me. Or that high-output (often melee) dpser that notices I’ve forgotten to throw vigilance on anyone and whispers me to ask for it. I like these people, and it’s a real pleasure to run with them
They do their job
This is where the vast majority of the people I run with fall. They don’t do anything that particularly makes the run go better, but they also don’t do anything to make it more difficult. They target correctly enough that I don’t have to taunt things constantly, they just do their job, and we breeze on through the instance. Honestly, these people I like as well, though I largely don’t remember names or anything.
People who just don’t know how to play
This is the hunter wearing mp5 and spellpower armor, the rogue wearing tank rings, or whatever gear mis-match you tan think of. It’s the hunter dropping Volley during the Skadi fight, after all the adds have been killed (hey, it happened, I saw it). Or someone that comes to a run totally unprepared (“Uh, guys, I need to run and repair/get ammo…”) This also includes the person with reasonable gear, but who can’t put out what they should. I have no issues helping anyone get geared, but when it seems like all you’re doing is auto-attacking, you really start to annoy me, take a little time, and learn how to play your toon! I really don’t like getting a group with these folk.
OMG! We have to be done 5 minutes ago!!!
These are the folks that really annoy me. They put up good numbers on the meters, they do what they’re supposed to while you’re fighting (usually). But the instant something isn’t perfect they’re either leaving, or bitching. Or they ninja-pull. Or, they assume that I’m a pally tank, and AoE threat isn’t any sort of issue (I mean, I have a shield after all!), I don’t need to get my rage rolling, and they can just open up DPS full bore on whatever target they wish. I’ll be honest, I don’t “speed-pull” but I think I move fast enough. I don’t wait around, I do however like to make sure that my healer and dps are behind be before I go zipping into the next pull. In short, I try and move as fast as reasonably possible, not wasting time, but not rushing either. I think most of the older heroics take me somewhere in the 20-25min range to run. No, I’m not setting records, but I’m not wasting time either. And I know where I am regarding gear and badges, and most of these folk are enough ahead of me that the only thing they might be spending the badges on are off-spec pieces, or maybe PvP gear. There’s no need to be nuts about it. It’s just a f^%*(ing game.
One other thing I somewhat dislike about the new system is that it’s cross-realm. While that (obviously) makes it work much quicker, it makes it a bit harder for you to build a name on your server. You’re much less likely to be looking for a raid or something, and someone sees your name in the list and goes “Oh, yeah, I ran with him a few times, he’s solid, grab him.”
And now, the things that I feel may have been unplanned, and may have a much larger impact on the game than was initially planned.
It creates geared noobs.
There’s nothing at all wrong with making good gear accessible, and thereby making the endgame content more accessible for everyone. I actually applaud that step by Blizz. The problem here actually lies with us the players, not with Blizz.
I know some of you are scratching you heads, wondering what the hell I’m talking about. I’ll even admit that I play into it. Think about how some of the heroics played early in WotLK. We needed to use CC, we had to watch where we were standing. Proper targeting was important, we had to move at certain times. Now consider Naxx. Let’s see, don’t stand in bad stuff, Grob comes to mind. Targeting, well 4 Horseman, and alot of the trash required coordination there, along with Anub, as well as the Grand Widow. Movement, there was Thadius, and let us not forget, Heigen. Does anyone see a pattern here?
Look how many guilds still haven’t cleared Ulduar. You know why? It’s not that Ulduar is such a hard raid. Ulduar is a technical raid. Ulduar was/is all about staying out of bad stuff, while targeting the right thing, and coordinating damage on multiple targets. Ulduar is a raid that requires a team of people that all know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it together. I won’t say that Ulduar will never be ‘out-geared’, but I don’t think you’ll see it out-geared by players who couldn’t do it in lesser gear. In my opinion Ulduar is a raid that’s much more about the player than it is the toon.
So what’s my point? Next time you run a 5-man, watch how carelessly your group steamrolls through everything. Think about it. What habits are we building? More importantly, what are we teaching those folk who are just getting their first toons up to max level? We’re creating fail-raiders. We’re gearing people well past the level they understand playing at. We then complain that these same people don’t know how to play, but we blame it on the gear, and then we ask for insane numbers on gear-score, or ilvl average for whatever run. So these same people go out and run more heroics with people who are just blasting through, not really using any technique, get better gear, and the cycle repeats… We blame Blizz for making gear to easy to get, but we aren’t teaching people how to use it right either.
Guilds are going to change
Let’s face it. Guilds are going to change because of the new dungeon tool. Guilds in many ways (at least for me) were an assembly of people who you usually did things with. They were the people that you almost always grouped with to run instances, raid with, etc. Now, they’re not as necessary for 5-mans. The waits even for DPSers aren’t terribly long, and I think my average wait time as a tank is under 20 seconds. From everything I hear, healers aren’t having to wait too long either. That’s if we’re signing up alone. Honestly, I’m at a point where I’m geared and confident enough in my abilities where I don’t feel a NEED to run with guildies. I like to, I prefer to, but I don’t feel like I need to. If I want to do something, I’ll ask if there’s anyone in guild interested, but I don’t wait too long. I’ll que up for a full random run without thinking twice. The only thing I actually look to the guild for is raids, crafters, and fun conversation.
I’m honestly beginning to think that the guild concept we’ve all lived with for a while is dying. Guilds are becoming more of a more formalized friends list, or, they’re becoming a raiding roster. I think we may see an emergence of “raid teams” even more than they already exist. They may cross guild lines totally. They might exist within, but separate from, a given guild. I don’t see a problem with the concept, but it may prove hard for some players to understand, and could cause shake-ups in some current, more socially-based guilds.
I’d love to delve further into some of the above concepts, but honestly, I’ve gone on far longer already than I ever intended to on the actual topic, and I’m venturing into areas where I could write complete separate (and lengthly) posts. I probably will eventually, as the gears of though have been spun into motion now, and won’t stop for a while.
Also, look for another version of this review written from a DPS perspective, as my hunter may soon climb out of the hammock he’s been lounging in for the last couple months, and actually do something other than an occasional farming circuit.