Like many raiders I stopped throwing myself into the Dungeon Finder to complete my Random Northrend Heroic several months ago. If it wasn’t the day that I realised that I didn’t need Emblems of Frost anymore it was the day after. Probably that same day.
I have a new reason to re-queue the daily heroic using the Dungeon Finder now (but that’s the topic for another post). And two of my friends have just returned to the game and are now playing brand new level 80 characters: a Mage and a Hunter. Queuing up together seems like a good idea.
But this doesn’t even feel like the same Dungeon Finder that I remember. Is it settling down? Is this what it’s going to be like forever after?
The first thing that I’ve noticed is that I never have to wait out the Average Wait Time. I almost always get an invitation in about half the expected time when I queue on my own as Damage. If I’m with the brand new Mage and Hunter as the third Damage dealer we need to wait a bit longer.
Unfortunately that first invitation is almost always a bust. Someone will decline and I’ve started to have serious doubts about the statement “You have been returned to the front of the queue.” I know that the Dungeon Finder must be able to match up parties within seconds. I’m not sure what the average groups-per-minute rate is but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear someone say that the Dungeon Finder, per Battlegroup, matches up 20 groups per minute. Maybe it’s more. Maybe it’s less.
But I don’t understand how going to the front of the queue can turn into an extra 5 minute wait either. That’s not the front of the queue. That’s the front of the queue with didn’t-you-read-the-small-print?-conditions. I think that means that they wait for the next possible group that doesn’t already have a Priest, the next group where the Tank has a purple shirt on, the next group where at least one member has the Jenkins title switched on and… god knows what else.
The biggest improvement that I’ve noticed is that, by and large, the groups are made up of only people who genuinely need Emblems and even – omg – drops from the instance itself. These are people who are just starting out, although probably not playing their first character, and trying to gear up. People who are struggling to generate enough threat, struggling to put out the DPS and struggling to keep green bars full. This is who the Dungeon Finder was made for!
One of the other things that I’ve noticed, or am sensitive to, is that GearScore seems to be everywhere. Most of the time nobody is crass enough to come right out and talk about GearScores but occasionally a comment is made and you realise that pretty much everyone is running the thing. It’s been so long since I’ve had occasion to PuG lately that I’ve managed to avoid the entire phenomenon. I’m not sure what numbers mean what – what is good and what is average and what is bad.
Of course, these days, every boss that can be skipped will be skipped. Months ago I was disappointed to find that Halls of Stone had become a 2 boss run. That trend has well and truly crossed into other dungeons. I was excited to get Utgarde Pinnacle yesterday – I get excited when it’s anything other than Halls of Stone – and was immediately informed by the Dungeon Guide that “we’re skipping beasts”. I didn’t complain – the beast event thingy is really only one of the four bosses in Utgarde Pinnacle. To my dismay however the tank ran right past the first boss while she launched into her monologue. Obviously this is standard operating procedure now. Nobody bothered to announce we were skipping her, too. Perhaps I should feel grateful that we stopped to kill Skadi instead of intentionally bugging/resetting him and running right through. Or perhaps Blizzard just fixed that part.
The second boss in Azjol-Nerub, the spider guy, is always skipped. And he’s not really meant to be optional – groups just bug him out and run past as he’s resetting. Don’t get me started on Old Kingdom: The Instance In Which All Bosses Will Be Avoided. Well that’s not completely true. It’s pretty hard to skip Prince Taldaram. Which is kind of amusing because we have to go kill him all the time in Icecrown Citadel, too.
I found myself in Oculus today. There’s something about Oculus that just brings out the worst in people, I think. The Dungeon Guide (which turned out to be the healer) immediately opened party chat with:
[Dungeon Guide] I was just thinking “please be Oculus”
[Dungeon Guide] 6 emblems in here
Finally, a run with people who like to do proper, full clears! Unfortunately the Dungeon Guide turned out to be an annoying jerk. A few seconds later they just had to throw in:
[Dungeon Guide] DK tanks are the worse
Our tank was a Death Knight of course – appropriately geared and skilled for the instance. By which I mean he didn’t have awesome gear or health or threat. I still didn’t think telling him he sucked just for playing a Death Knight tank was really the right thing to say. But I let it pass.
Our intrepid Dungeon Guide was also of the “go go go” mentality that has also become prevalent in Dungeon Finder groups of late. This hasn’t really started to bug me as much as I know it has other bloggers. I find it kind of silly. I mean, you’re in the middle of your play time and you’re trying to get it over with as fast as possible. Frankly I don’t care if a dungeon takes 5 minutes or 40 minutes as long as I enjoy it.
Pushing the group too quickly through Oculus was causing us quite a few problems. There always seemed be at least one drake latched onto us as we dismounted on each platform. On one memorable occasion only the healer/Dungeon Guide and myself were dismounted, right on the edge of the platform, while the rest of the party were clearing additional drakes behind us on their own drakes. The mobs on the platform pulled somehow (I’m not sure how – I didn’t see anything strange) and immediately swarmed over the healer. I pulled a quick Mind Sear > pull threat > Disperse > Bubble > PoM > Shadowform to save the healer’s life while we waited for the tank to come in and take over. We survived and I was pretty damned thrilled that nobody had died.
Unfortunately the healer/Dungeon Guide felt differently
[Dungeon Guide] l2p
I couldn’t leave it alone. First off, if this healer could actually see what had pulled the group or had caused the problem, good. But at least man up and call out the individual responsible and explain what they did wrong. Telling the entire group that they should “l2p” helps nobody. It’s the kind of thoughtless as-long-as-I-look-good crap that pisses me off.
[Cassandri] You do realise that by saying that you’re not helping anybody, right?
[Dungeon Guide] I never said I was here to help
Welcome to my ignore list, buddy! What a total dick. Why even play a social game at all? Go play some single player campaign or something where you won’t be inflicting your personality on anyone else.
[DPS 1] Hey when someone with 6k gear score tells you to be nice maybe you should pay attention
[DPS 1] They’re usually the worst
This is the point at which I realised that everyone is running GearScore. I didn’t reply because by then I had the Dungeon Guide on Ignore and I wasn’t 100% sure that the person with “6k gear score” was actually me and that I was still following the thread of the conversation. And wouldn’t that have been embarrassing if I had defended myself … only to find out they were talking about someone else altogether.
I did end up going to WTFismyGearScore.com after the run to check my GearScore. And yes, that other DPSer was talking about me. Which is a shame because I’ve also come to realise that there’s a stereotype floating around that people with high gear scores are total assholes (worse than our Dungeon Guide even!). I wish I had replied in that Oculus run. I know exactly what I would have said:
[Cassandri] Then you haven’t met anyone in my guild. And I can pretty much guarantee they have higher gear scores than I do.
If only I had said it!
It does disturb me to think that perhaps a lot of the well geared players running around on the battlegroup are giving the rest of us a bad name. I think people are generally pretty decent, regardless of gear. But perhaps those “elitists” are only treating me nicely because I’m like them or something. And when I’m not around they go around treating everyone else like scum.
I like to believe that Chastity’s theory of the wanna-be hardcores (who act elitist and put others down to elevate their own status) are the rotten core ruining it for everyone else. Vixsin perception/argument for the Elite mirror my own thoughts and experiences too closely. So don’t judge someone based on their GearScore, please!
Because my Hunter and Mage friends are so poorly geared at the moment we’ve been getting all the easy dungeons like The Nexus, Utguarde Keep and Culling of Stratholme. And because they’re both playing DPS classes when the three of us get together I’ve been queuing as a Healer to try and speed up our acquisition of Emblems. I looked like a total idiot when I waltzed straight up through the Inn and along the road to Stratholme of the past. Yes, it turns out that you can just talk to Chromie and be ported right inside now. Oops. At least nobody actually died by the the time I got there.
I healed a Nexus run in which the Dungeon Guide – and tank in this case – despaired of our group’s gear:
[Dungeon Guide] Great. Only our healer has decent gear
[Dungeon Guide] This is going to take forever
Of course it didn’t take forever. 30 minutes perhaps. The tank’s own gear was frankly pretty decent in my opinion – not only was it over 22k but he was pretty damn easy to heal and took damage in pretty reasonable, and predictable chunks. I amused myself by trying to figure out how I had set up my Power Infusion macros. But the group won my praise when we approached the first boss.
[Tank] Let me pull right back
[Tank] Otherwise fear is going to be baaaaad
And, you wouldn’t believe it, but the third damage dealer in our group, a melee DPS of some flavor, kept trying to run out of the boss’s whirlwind. Of course he took damage but he was really trying not to.
[Cassandri] There’s nothing I like better than seeing people do encounters properly
[Tank] Why do you say that
[Cassandri] You planned for the fear in advance instead of just ignoring it
[Cassandri] Which is what most groups seem to do
[Cassandri] I like it
I really enjoyed that run.
And you know what I like the most about the Dungeon Finder these days? You can find groups and be teleported straight in to do holiday bosses like Lord Ahune! Now that’s what I call convenient. It also means that I’ll never have to worry about this ever again.