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Making the dungeon finder suck less

Anyone who's read the official forums lately has probably seen a raft of complaints directed at players abusing the dungeon finder and vote to kick features. It's a reminder that people will always figure out a way to twist a system to their own benefit. The most upsetting technique I've read about is two hybrid DPS in cahoots with a third DPS queuing as a tank/healer duo, getting an instant invite to dungeons, and then pressuring the two other members of the party to shoulder the tank or healer job. If they don't or can't fill these roles -- kick 'em after the 15 min grace period and requeue themselves as straight DPS. Voilà -- they are now at the head of the dungeon queue for the next tank or healer! Is it any wonder that players find this enraging?

Heartbourne of Lore Hound offers an analysis of some potential solutions to dungeon finder abuse. As he observes, a proposed rating system for players could be easily abused on its own, so maybe that's not the best way to go. However, I find his suggestion of a social networking angle to be pretty interesting. What if there were a priority system to be grouped with players you met and "liked" before? What if guilds across servers could "friend" each other and form pools of players from which to draw 5-man groups?

"Invisible rep"

What I like most about this is that it would form a sort of invisible reputation quietly affecting your odds of getting a fast queue. If you're a fabulous hunter or mage with whom cross-server tanks had a great experience and who got "friended" a lot, you could bypass the usual wait if one of them queued at the same time you did.

There's even a cogent point here about being able to affect how you experience content: If you only "friend" tanks who pull like a ferret on meth, you could increase your odds of landing a fast tank in subsequent runs. By contrast, if you're a jerk player who's a hassle to be around, all that other players would have to do to keep your wait times unchanged would be not to friend you.

I agree with Heartbourne's point that this isn't a perfect system and it could be problematic for newer players down the road. "New players tend to be DPS," he points out, "and if all the tanks and healers get gobbled up by small communities, it could leave new players high and dry." But I do really like the idea of a little self-organization through the dungeon finder, and when you think about it, it could also yield some interesting data for Blizzard. Is there a particular class of tank or healer that people are more likely to "friend"? Which DPS get "friended" most through the dungeon finder? And is this the sort of system that should apply across all of your characters, or just one?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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