Wednesday, October 14, 2015

World of Warcraft: A New Old Alternative to Dungeon Finder

Update: I am aware Mythic Dungeons essentially accomplish what this suggestion does, but having it apply to all group dungeon groups with sufficient incentive (such as this, which is getting added in 6.2.3) may increase the chances of players forming groups without using the Dungeon Finder. It is worth mentioning the effectiveness of Mythic Dungeons incentivizing players to create premade groups is not fully realized yet and should be more apparent in Legion.

Since its introduction in Wrath, the Dungeon Finder has provided players with a convenient way to do dungeons from level 15 all the way up to 100. The convenience is further enhanced by bonus loot for queuing into a random dungeon along with a nice buff to some basic attributes. However, this convenience came at a price and creating premade groups through chat channels became a thing of the past. The introduction of features such as Challenge Mode and Mythic Dungeon dungeons helps to alleviate the issue somewhat. Unfortunately, they don't sufficiently negate Dungeon Finder's great benefits, which arguably sap the quality of social interactions and reduce the amount of them, since there's relatively less reason to talk to the complete strangers from another realm that you're likely to queue into compared to friends or players on one's own realm.

In short, what I'm trying to say is the Dungeon Finder could probably stand to be taken down a few notches in terms of how rewarding it is compared to contenders such as premade groups that don't use the feature. In the interest of promoting social interactions in World of Warcraft, I think incentivizing the creation of premade groups, thus motivating players have to chat in public channels to find a group, to serve as a more rewarding alternative to the Dungeon Finder is an ideal suggestion.

The Suggestion

Firstly, here's some suggestions to change Dungeon Finder in preparation for this new (old) system:
  • Remove the Luck of the Draw buff entirely. If dungeons are too difficult for Dungeon Finder groups, consider adjusting the dungeons themselves accordingly. This, however, should not be needed.
    • This should remove the extra power players get by queuing into Dungeon Finder, which could potentially trivialize the content.
  • Remove stacked decks. These award a lot of money that further to inflate a gold-rich economy due to sources such as garrison missions. In addition, premade group benefits should be shifted more towards the new system.
    • Also, with the removal of Luck of the Draw, the stacked decks, which were effectively compensation for possibly willingly reducing the effect of the buff to create a premade group for Dungeon Finder, are no longer needed.
Now for the implementation of the new feature:
  • If a group of players enters a dungeon manually without using the Dungeon Finder and kills bosses (or completes objectives) within the dungeon, they earn increased experience and other bonus rewards (money for lower level dungeons, non-gold currencies for max-level dungeons - it must be noted that the currencies have to have a high level of relevance and demand).
    • This group does not have to be a full group of five, but ideally should at least require three players to earn benefits.
    • Alternatively, increased benefits scale with the number of players in the group (meaning if one does the dungeon solo, they earn minimal increased benefits, since the system is about incentivizing grouping up).
    • An additional bonus reward for killing each boss is an increased amount of loot, regardless of the loot system in use (for example, a boss can group two items instead of one on a standard group loot system).
  • Upon completion of the dungeon in such a group, all players in the group earn significant bonus rewards, preferably not in the form of money and at least double of what the Dungeon Finder's Random Dungeon award is or some other significant reward.
    • For example, a suitable alternative reward for all players involved could be a Call to Arms bag with other currencies instead of gold.
  • Provide additional bonuses for groups made within the same realm or realm cluster (for merged realms). These should have enough significant to tempt players to further consider using public chat channels to group up, but not so much that lower populace realms get "screwed over" so to speak.
    • An example reward could be a lesser satchel similar to the Call to Arms bag that contains some extra loot once the dungeon is finished, plus slightly increased benefits for each boss killed.
  • The general idea of all these benefits is to intentional inconvenience one must go through compared to using the Dungeon Finder. To put it another way, one is rewarded greatly for not following the path of least resistance.
The benefits of this system are that:
  • It may be a better option for Damage Dealers, since they usually have longer queues.
  • It may also be a good option for newer players who don't want to deal with Dungeon Finder for some reason, such as a negative experience (berated for being a newb, for example) or anxiety.
  • It allows players to explore the world and know where dungeon entrances are, making corpse runs far less of a hassle in cases where players don't instantly revive at the entrance to the dungeon (this mostly applies to older dungeons).
    • Speaking of this, some corpse runs could use improvement, such as for Burning Crusade dungeons. Running back to the Blood Furnace from Thrallmar is exceptionally inconvenient compared to most corpse runs, for example.
  • It allows players to hold each other more accountable compared to the Dungeon Finder. While there won't be any option to vote to kick, getting removed from a premade group is far more punishing due to the time it will probably take to find another group, making misbehavior less likely.
    • The likelihood decreases further in a group of players from the same realm, since the players all might know each other and if not, bad reputations can spread across a realm (though this is not a behavior I condone since technically it violates the Terms of Use).
    • Ideally, the higher level of accountability will curb negative behavior and thus negative social interactions should be reduced, improving the quality of them.
  • As mentioned above, this system should spark some chat activity as players look for groups, thus increasing the quantity of social interactions. It may also make players more amicable towards each other in the process of a shared desire of earning major rewards.
Final Statements

I would like to think this suggestion would make an impact on the group gameplay were it to be implemented. It builds on an existing option of convenience by adding another option that compensates for inconvenience while promoting social interaction. Aside from the single notable nerf, there shouldn't be much change to the Dungeon Finder meaning those who wish to avidly use it shouldn't be affected much. Regardless, feedback is strongly appreciated, as it is with anything I happen to publish.

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