Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gotta Keep 'em Separated

I've been reading some blog posts recently about player advancement, 5-man heroics, and progression raiding.

Priest With a Cause: An Annotated History of the Badge System
Blessing of Kings: The Root Problem
Blessing of Kings: Blocked Player Advancement

I've found the discussion interesting, particularly when you combine these articles with numerous PUG stories out there about overgeared toons behaving badly in Heroics.*

Now, I like Rohan's idea of removing Valor Points from the game, but the problem of overgeared toons running Heroics would still exist.  There is no need to run them from a gear standpoint, but that doesn't mean that you can't film an episode of Overgeared Toons Behaving Badly on a regular basis.  I can think of a few reasons why an overgeared toon would want to enter a 5-man Heroic anyway:  guild runs with guildies who aren't raid ready; mat runs farming DC-able gear and Chaos Orbs; and Justice Point farming runs, where a toon is farming JP to purchase heirlooms or convert the JP to Conquest Points (for PvP gear).

If the goal is to discourage badly behaving raiders from running random Heroics, isn't there a more direct method:  expanding the raid lockout to include heroics?  I'm not talking a daily lockout, but a weekly one.  Or better yet, if you enter a Cata raid, the lockout will include 5-man Heroics via the Dungeon Finder.  (Toons could still group up and enter a Heroic the old fashioned way via the meeting stone and instance entrance, however.)

Either suggestion is a very draconian method to keep the overgeared raiders away from the properly geared Heroic runners, but it does force one problem with this entire exercise into the limelight:  issue prioritization.

Which is the greater problem:
  • Keeping bad apples out of 5-man Heroics
  • Reducing wait times in 5-man Heroics
While some of us may see the former as the problem, Blizzard has voted with the latter and instituted the Call to Arms to encourage people (*cough* tanks and healers *cough*) to jump into randoms to alleviate long wait times.  But I'd argue that long wait times would discourage the asshats from queuing for instances in the first place, so why "fix" one problem when it exacerbates another?

Perhaps the solution to keeping the bad apples out is to increase the wait times for a random out of the Dungeon Finder, not reduce them.  If you queue for an instance run via the LFD tool, you have a minimum 30-45 minute wait.  No exceptions.  You end up getting the people who really want to be there, who will want to work out issues and setbacks in an instance run, while discouraging the jerks from entering.  The poorly behaved toons can still join groups, but their best chance of instance running is with a guild/friend group.

But what about the rewards for a guild runs?  Who'd want to have a guild run via the LFD with a wait like that?

Well, why restrict the daily LFD rewards to the LFD tool?  How about allowing a party to reap the same rewards via the traditional route:  entering via the meeting stone and traditional instance location.  Getting to an instance will be much quicker than the wait involved via the LFD tool, but would yield the same amount of rewards.  It also means that people will get out in the world a bit more, rather than loitering around Org or Stormwind.  Finally, it also means that people might just group up within the same server a bit more often, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  (Okay, Rhii might have a different opinion on that, given her disastrous encounter with some puggees from her own server, but those asshats will eventually get their comeuppance.  Karma is a real bitch that way.)

*Of course, there are plenty of toons that behave badly no matter their gear.

EtA:  Yes,  I like The Offspring.  I couldn't justify using "Hit That" or "Pretty Fly" as the title of the post, tho.

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