Tuesday, February 28, 2012

World of Warcraft: Improving The Looking For Raid System

The Looking for Raid System in WoW is argued over constantly about whether it was a bad idea or a good idea. In a previous article about LFR, I stated this implementation was an excellent idea. However, when doing LFR over the last few months, I’ve come across a few issues that Blizzard has yet to resolve. That is why in this article I will outline these issues and offer solutions. Fortunately, Blizzard is aware of some of these issues and will hopefully implement their own solutions (or even use mine).

The AFK Queue-In

This one in particular annoys me. I will freely admit that I sometimes queue up for a Dungeon or Raid and then go to cook lunch or something. In the case of the Dungeon Finder, if I don’t accept the queue, it just boots me out of the queue and I have to try again (and to be honest I don’t mind if DPS being AFK makes me wait 40+ more seconds to get into my dungeon). However, for the Raid Finder, it assumes you “accepted” the queue even though you were actually AFK. This is a pretty big problem, for both the player and the group. The group might eventually remove the player, but until then they’re sitting with a player down (maybe even multiple). During this time, the player doesn’t even know what’s going on and might come back to their game only to see a dead character.

To be honest the solution is rather simple. Since the Raid Finder already constructs the group without much regard to how many people accept the queue (declining the queue can’t screw 24 other people, so to speak), just make players who don’t accept the queue within the time limit also decline the queue. In addition, the Dungeon Finder may also need to have functionality similar to that of Raid Finder so players don’t get a bunch of AFK damage dealers, resulting in a lot of time wasted once you actually have a “formed group.”

AFK For Purples

Conversely, some players actively do nothing, but then roll on loot. Sometimes people just go AFK for a rather long time, lying dead on the ground or autofollowing players. On the other hand, Battlegrounds actively boot out players who go AFK. This shouldn’t be confused with players who underperform, because they’re at least doing something and to be honest it’s the group’s decision to remove players who don’t pull their weight, not the system.

The system should at least remove players who go AFK while in an assembled group situation (Dungeon Finder and Raid Finder). It should also potentially impose a penalty of a lesser version of the Dungeon Deserter debuff (15 minutes?). If possible, the game should attempt a logic check on major encounters to see if the player is actually performing actions (i.e. healing, dealing damage).

The Issue of Role Bonus

While Blizzard did do a good job locking out some classes from loot they shouldn’t be able to win, there are still issues with how role bonus works, specifically on items with a blanket “role tag” on them that wouldn’t be optimal for some specializations that fit those roles. Examples of this include Gurthalak (a “tank and damage dealer” item that can be won by Warrior and Paladin tanks) and trinkets that are intended for certain damage deals but can be won by other damage dealers (a caster trinket being won by a Feral Druid, for instance). While I did mention that players should practice integrity and be careful what they roll on, the system shouldn’t have such holes in the loot rolling system to be exploited either.

The only solution I can really think of that can eliminate this issue is to have 30 “specialization” tags (more when Mists of Pandaria comes out) that are then applied to the applicable pieces of loot to ensure the correct classes and specializations win the items. For instance, the aforementioned Gurthalak could only be won by Retribution Paladins, Arms and Fury Warriors, and Frost and Unholy Death Knights. This would be somewhat time-consuming and difficult to implement, so, needless to say, I don’t expect this to happen immediately. However, I would be willing to code this personally if I was allowed.

People Win Items They Already Own

People roll on items they already own for many reasons. One such reason is they simply want to deny loot from other players and just vendor the item or something. Another is for “bargaining,” where they offer a piece of loot they win but already have a copy of for loot they want. Sometimes people take loot so they can award it to players who earn it when the run ends. However, while the reasoning behind this is noble, it’s still essentially stealing loot and if some players are really underperforming in one’s eyes then they should use the Vote to Kick system or try to convince the group to remove offending players. It is worth noting that in some rare cases people might roll on an item they already own because they’re capable of using two of them (Fury Warrior using two Gurthalaks).

The solution for this is rather simple and easy. Adding a unique modifier to the Raid Finder items would be a good first step. In some cases, the unique tag should be “Unique(2)” to allow players who can dual wield weapons can continue to do so. To further prevent players from taking items for little reason, the vendor price of items should be vastly decreased (to coppers) and also cannot be disenchanted manually (the system will “disenchant” the item by removing the loot and awarding a shard instead). In addition, there may need to be some logic checks to ensure players don’t roll on equivalent downgrades (someone owning normal versions of the equipment tries to take Raid Finder versions of the equipment). Take note these changes apply specifically to non-tier token items. I have a different solution to offer for tier tokens.

The Problem of Tier Tokens

Tier tokens are taken as much, if not more, than other items in the Raid Finder for the motives mentioned above. The problem is the offered solution alone won’t be enough, as the item is traded in for equivalent gear, allowing players to further take more tier tokens for their “off sets” and so on while still getting role bonuses!

The solution is a little complex. Firstly, the game will check the player’s specialization and then check if they have the gear (bags, equipment, etc) or equivalent gear, which will have specialization tags as offered in a previous solution. It applies role bonuses on the basis of having the gear or not. In addition, when a player wins the token, it automatically gets traded in for the piece of equipment for that specialization to ensure players can’t trade in tokens for “off spec” gear so they can win even more tokens.

That’s All, Folks

I actually can’t think of any more major issues with the Raid Finder that can be resolved with clever development from Blizzard’s side. If you think there’s something worth resolving, feel free to point it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment