LFD: Guild vs PuG

So today we woke up to this gem:

In patch 4.1 we’ll be introducing Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms, a new system intended to lower queue times. Call to Arms will automatically detect which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.

Any time the Dungeon Finder queue is longer than a few minutes for level-85 Heroics, the Call to Arms system kicks in and determines which role is the least represented. In the case of tanking being the least represented role, the “Call to Arms: Tanks” icon will display in the Dungeon Finder UI menu where class roles are selected, and will also display on the UI when the queue pops and you are selected to enter a dungeon. Regardless of your role, you’ll always be able to see which role currently has been Called to Arms, if any.

Call to Arms is meant to lower wait times by offering additional rewards for queuing as the currently least represented role. To be eligible for the additional rewards you must solo queue for a random level-85 Heroic in the role that is currently being Called to Arms, and complete the dungeon by killing the final boss. Every time you hit these requirements (there is no daily limit) you’ll receive a goodie bag that will contain some gold, a chance at a rare gem, a chance at a flask/elixir (determined by spec), a good chance of receiving a non-combat pet (including cross faction pets), and a very rare chance at receiving a mount. The pets offered come from a wide variety of sources, and include companions like the Razzashi Hatchling, Cockatiel, and Tiny Sporebat, but the mounts are those specifically only available through dungeons (not raids), like the Reins of the Raven Lord from Sethekk Halls, Swift White Hawkstrider from Magister’s Terrace, and Deathcharger’s Reins from Stratholme.

This system is meant to address the unacceptable queue times currently being experienced by those that queue for the DPS role at max level. The long queue times are, of course, caused by a very simple lack of representation in the Dungeon Finder by tanks, and to some extent healers. We don’t feel the tanking and healing roles have any inherent issues that are causing the representation disparity, except that fulfilling them carries more responsibility. Understandably, players prefer to take on that responsibility in more organized situations than what the Dungeon Finder offers, but perhaps we can bribe them a little. While this system gives tanks and healers something extra, the incentive is being provided so that we can help players in the DPS role get into more dungeons, get better gear, and continue progressing.

While the gold, gems, flasks, and elixirs are OK incentives, we knew we needed something more substantial. We had briefly considered Valor Points and epics, but decided that wouldn’t be working toward the goal of helping DPS players progress, and ultimately wouldn’t keep tanks and healers in the Dungeon Finder system for very long. We settled on pets and dungeon-found mounts as they’re cosmetic/achievement items that players tend to try to get on their own, so why not change that up and offer them a chance to get some of those elusive pets and mounts in a way that also helps other players? Even if they don’t get a pet or mount, or get one they already have, the gold and other goodies still feel rewarding enough that it won’t feel like a waste of effort.

We think it’s a pretty solid incentive to get tanks and healers queuing, give max-level players another way to collect the pets and mounts they so desire, and above all, to improve wait times for DPS players sitting in queues. In the case of lower level dungeons, it’s actually not uncommon for DPS to be the least represented role, and so if this new system works out and we’re pleased with the results, we may consider applying this same mechanic to lower level dungeons as well.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would the possibility of pets and mounts cause you to not do a run with your guild (since Call to Arms only works if you solo queue)?
  • Do we think this will see a sudden rush of undergeared and inexperienced tanks and healers trying to cash in on this?
  • If this had been posted on April Fool’s day, would you have thought it was a joke.

My first thought was ‘yes those queue times need to go down’.  But then I realised this was yet ANOTHER way for the LFD to penalise people for running with their guild.  I’m lucky as my guild is mostly full of generous souls who help each other and who like to do guild runs.  But imagine if your not in a guild like Dreamstate?  In fact it may lengthen queues because all the DPS who were in guild runs will now get stuck in the queue too as their tanks and healers will want to queue on their own.

Enough with the complaining – what do Blizzard do about it?
Actually I have a solution!  You need to match this change with a change that rewards people for running with their guild.  Where a guild gets a full five people, they should have a reward too.  You could make it quite minimal.  I would suggest a random player out of the five gets the same bag with the rewards in it.  This should tip the balance back toward all-guild runs and encourage tanks and healers to run more than their minimum number of runs.  Even if you no longer get Valor Points, you still have a chance at the bag.

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5 thoughts on “LFD: Guild vs PuG

  1. You know, I really don’t look at it as something to encourage people NOT to run with their guildies. I only have experience with two guilds, and both of them have been small and consequently fairly intimate, but I can’t imagine leaving a guildie high and dry for 20g and pet butterfly, and I can’t imagine any of my guild doing that either.

    Where I *can* see it being useful is in those situations when you’re thinking “bah, there’s no-one around/available to go run a dungeon. Screw it, I’ll skip today”. The additional incentive might be enough to put you in the queue on your own.

    1. It depends very much on your guild I think. In Dreamstate I don’t believe it will have this effect – my guild is a strong one with a lot of friends in it and a strong focus on enjoying the game with fellow guildies. But I’ve been in guilds where people do have this kind of attitude. I know people who would do just that – players who are out to serve their own needs. Those are the kind of players who only play with others because its the only way to get the rewards. The kind of players who think of their fellow gamers as NPCs. I think its more prevalent in 25 man guilds that raid often as its much harder to find 25 really nice people to raid regularly with.

    1. Only thats a limited time offer. When you hit the rep cap, and the guild hits its experience cap, the incentive ends.

      The main incentive for guild tanks to run heroics with the guild is that they want to avoid the culture of LFD. The cc-is-for-noobs-i-have-misdirect-so-i-can-pull-even-when-the-healer-has-no-mana-OMG-FFS-do-this-achievement kind of culture. In a strong guild, tanks would also want to help their friends (as in Dreamstate). But even in a guild which doesn’t have strong social links, LFD will not be popular because of the abuse.

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