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Posts with tag dungeon-finder-system

Breakfast Topic: Share your life hacks for WoW

Breakfast Topic Making your ingame life easier
I really like "life hack" sites because you can find so many different ways to make the little things (and sometimes the big things) easier. Whether it's opening bottles with a Mac power adapter or learning how to cook fish on a grill without losing portions of it to the grate, you never know what you're going to find.

Occasionally I run across tips from other players in-game come within shouting distance of being a WoW-style life hack. There are two I can think of off the top of my head that made a noticeable difference to the ease of my play time, and they both have something to do with the Dungeon Finder/Raid Finder.
  • If you're queuing for raids or 5-mans as a healer and aren't currently in your healing spec, don't immediately accept an invite. The timer is just long enough to allow you to respec and drink before entering the dungeon. If you do so within the dungeon, you run the risk of watching an impatient tank drop to half or even no health before you finish respeccing.
  • If you're trying to gear a fresh character at level 85, do your dungeons/raids earlier in the week and not later. A higher percentage of players are on their mains at that point, which tend to be better-geared and -played than their alts.
What life hacks would you recommend to your fellow players?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Should WoW players be responsible for player accountability?

Blizzard's policy as far as reporting players has been about the same since day one. If you have a problem with a player, you report them. While Blizzard can contact you and thank you for reporting the issue, it will not give any details regarding what it has done about the problem being reported. This has always been understandable to me; in the many years on and off that I worked customer service and call center jobs, rule #1 was that you did not speak to anyone but an account holder regarding the status of their account. To me, the Blizzard policy is just more of the same kind of treatment -- Blizzard cannot tell you about actions taken against another player's account, because hey, their account isn't yours, you know? It's private information.

That said, I have reported my share of players over the years, and I never really knew if action was taken against these players or not. In simple cases of name violations, like using an inappropriate word for guild or character name, I could usually tell if something had been done, because the guild or player in question would have their name changed. But in cases of player harassment ... well, you never know if they've been told anything or not. You just sort of hope this means the person harassing you will go away and that will be the end of it, but there are absolutely no guarantees.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Is choosing a server becoming obsolete?

Let's hop in the wayback machine for a minute, because I enjoy doing that. Once upon a time in the days of vanilla WoW, players who had just purchased the game were faced with a choice upon logging in for the first time: What server would they call home? There were three different server types, each with their own flavor: PvP, for those that wanted to log in and have the opportunity to whale on the opposing faction at any given opportunity; PvE for those who would rather avoid fighting with other players and simply enjoy the content; and RP, for those who wanted to create character stories and roleplay with other characters. Later, the RP-PvP realm was introduced for roleplayers who really wanted to whale on the opposing faction as well as roleplay.

But the choice went beyond a simple matter of what type of game you wanted to play. Each server had its own cast of characters, and as the years went by, these players turned into friends and foes alike. Servers weren't just about how you wanted to play; they were a collection of people you interacted with on a daily basis. Guilds were composed of people with the same ideas in mind, but those guilds weren't the be all and end- all of your interaction with people in the game. Every server had that one guy who was always cracking jokes in trade chat. Every server always had a ninja or two. And of course, there was always the guy who didn't seem to get what social interaction was all about.

These days, we have cross-realm grouping via Real ID, the Raid Finder for those who don't want to bother with joining a raid guild, and now we've got the up-and-coming feature that will allow us to group with players cross-realm for raiding old content as well as the new stuff. So the big question is this: Do servers even have a purpose anymore?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Patch 4.1 dungeon finder change places players from realms together

There was an interesting change slipped into the 4.1 patch notes a few days ago, and players may or may not have noticed it. The dungeon finder, which pulls from the combined battlegroups of all servers, has been tweaked to place players from the same realm together first, and if it can't find players from the same realm, it will move on to a wider pool of players. What does this mean for the dungeon finder? Very little -- you'll still be getting a group. But it's the motives behind the change that are interesting, as posted by Zarhym on the official forums:

That isn't just a coincidence. Many players have stated since the release of the Dungeon Finder that they like the convenience of being matched for a group automatically, but they miss the feeling of community when they're paired with strangers from other realms with whom they might never speak again. So we made a slight change in the way the Dungeon Finder sorts through the queue matching players for a dungeon.

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Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Dungeon finder, vote kicking hotfixes on the way

There's a new group of hotfixes on the way, and along with the hotfixes come a number of changes to the dungeon finder and vote kick tools. Community Manager Bashiok released a post detailing the changes, which will take realm restarts to implement. In other words, we'll likely see these changes go into effect after next Tuesday's maintenance -- unless, of course, Blizzard pulls the servers down before then. It's Blizzard's hope that these hotfixes will do a little to address poor behavior and unfair group kicks in dungeon finder groups.

We're making a number of hotfixes to address use of the Dungeon Finder and vote kick tools. The following hotfixes will require realm restarts to implement, which are likely to be next Tuesday's weekly maintenance.
  • Players who are outside a dungeon for more than a few minutes are now immediately able to be kicked.
  • If queuing as a group with a tank or healer, and the tank or healer drops group (or is kicked) soon after joining, those that queued with them will also be removed from the dungeon.

  • If three or more players group queue with each other it will require an additional vote for them to kick anyone they did not group queue with.

  • If a group queue of 4 kicks the one person that they did not group queue with they will each receive a more severe penalty to their ability to initiate future kicks.

  • If someone initiates a vote kick for someone they group queued with they will not incur a penalty to their ability to initiate future kicks.
With these changes we hope to reduce some undesirable behavior and annoyances, and encourage greater patience when using the Dungeon Finder. In addition, keep in mind that both initiating and agreeing to vote kick have always carried the same weight to your ability to kick in the future. It's always best to save your votes for when it really counts to ensure your ability to kick is available when it does.

We'll of course be watching how these changes work to improve these systems, and always appreciate your feedback.

As these and other hotfixes are implemented, they'll be added to the hotfix blog -

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Guild experience changes in patch 4.0.6

The latest round of patch notes from the PTR have some interesting new information in the form of guild improvements. While running 5-mans with guild groups has always given guild experience, these changes seem to be focused on improving the rewards from doing so.

We have redefined the definition of a Guild Group for 5-player dungeons.
  • If 3 out of 5 players in a group are members of the same guild, they will now be able to complete guild achievements and earn guild experience at 50% of the normal rate.
  • If 4 out of 5 players in a group are members of the same guild, they will now be able to complete guild achievements and earn guild experience at 100% of the normal rate.
  • If 5 out of 5 players in a group are members of the same guild, they will now be able to complete guild achievements and earn guild experience at 125% of the normal rate.
  • Also note that Heroic dungeons offer a 1.5x multiplier on all guild experience earned.

Right now, in order to count as a guild group, four out of the five party members of that team must be from your guild. With these changes, a guild will be able to take three members along and still qualify for guild experience, albeit at a slower rate. What does this mean? Mainly that smaller guilds have more of a chance to reach that experience cap that larger guilds have been hitting without fail every day. The experience gain is only 50% of the normal rate, but at least doing dungeons with your guild members in smaller numbers will actually mean something.

On the other end of the spectrum, if all five players in a dungeon run are from the same guild, that group now earns a staggering 125% guild experience. Why the change? It seems as though Blizzard is trying to encourage people to group with their guild members, by offering more incentives for doing so. This is all well and good, but if more guilds are running dungeon groups, this means less people using the dungeon finder and longer queue times for those who have to wait. We'll have to wait and see what the results from these changes look like once the patch hits live.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

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?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The OverAchiever: The 25 most entertaining achievements #5-3

Every so often, I get tired of the self-seriousness that infests some of (OK, most of) the other work I do here and get the urge to write something purely for fun. After our series on evil achievements and the relentless misery of School of Hard Knocks, I'd like to spend some time on achievements that are nothing but an absolute joy from beginning to end.

Today we're going to get close to finishing our series on World of Warcraft's 25 most entertaining achievements. This was originally supposed to be #5 through #1, but ... well, I think the last five achievements are all complete knockouts, so I devoted a bit more time to each. This is the full series, if you're catching up:

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Shifting Perspectives: Pulling 101: Deeper into the dungeon

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, we continue to get hit in the face.

This week, we're continuing our series on Pulling 101 with a look at what happens during the dungeon itself. I was surprised to discover exactly how much of this advice concerns rage management, but shouldn't have been; any discussion concerning how to pull as a rage tank invariably touches on how to get the most out of an eccentric resource system. A good chunk of this advice will become obsolete as of the Cataclysm content patch, but if you're leveling and gearing a bear through the dungeon finder, there are still an awful lot of 5-mans between yourself and this fall.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Blood Pact: Leveling up through the Dungeon Finder tool

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "You want him? ... Oh, go ahead. I was gonna kill him anyway." -- Grand Warlock Nethekurse

Over the months, we have looked at the leveling process from a warlock's point of view. Mostly we looked at new talents and abilities, with a few glimpses at key quests. Today, Blood Pact has a look at one of the ways of getting your hands on the XP: the Dungeon Finder.

A lot of attention gets paid to using the Dungeon Finder (DF) at 80 to collect and farm emblems. For sure, this is a great way to get your fresh level 80 character some gear that will enable you to raid. But you can use DF right from level 15 (by which time you should have learned how to curse properly and figured out which end of a Shadow Bolt does the damage). It's a powerful tool for covering the rest of the distance to 80. You can even use it to get into RFC and Stocks, which previously tended to be out of bounds for one faction or the other.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

What effect does the Dungeon Finder have on smaller servers?

For a few days now, I've been mulling over a point raised by Spinksville in a blog post concerning the Dungeon Finder's impact on smaller servers. It was her contention that, although the Dungeon Finder makes getting 5-man runs faster and easier for people on underpopulated realms, the new tool was contributing (or likely to contribute) to the depopulation of realms without a lot of options for raiding. It's never been easier to gear up a character, she observed, and someone with a geared character is increasingly likely to want that toon raiding. However, smaller servers rarely field the array and depth of PuG raiding opportunities offered by larger realms. Her conclusion? "Being on a smaller server has never been less attractive for a casual player."

While I go back and forth on that point -- lots of people will just gear a toon for its own sake without necessarily planning to raid on it -- I don't think she's entirely wrong, and I also think the larger point concerning the Dungeon Finder's potential impact on server communities is probably accurate.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

Breakfast Topic: What do you do while waiting for LFG to pop?

Every so often, an email comes along the tip line that really gets the writers talking, and we received one such email last night from our reader Zikko, who was curious what people did while they were waiting for the Dungeon Finder to assign them a group ("Guess this only applies to DPS," as he/she observed). While Zikko usually does dailies, watches TV, or farms mats for cooking and fishing, he/she wondered whether anyone had hit upon a better way to pass the time while the Dungeon Finder went on the search. I include the writers' individual comments below, not just because it's a nice "slice of life," but I also think it's a good peek at how different peoples' experiences can be depending on the roles they play:

Matt Rossi: I have time to inhale a couple of times during the LFD queue.

Allison Robert: To amuse myself, I start counting, "One mississippi, two mississippi, three mississippi..." from releasing the mouse's left button on the Join Group option and the queue popping. However, I am likely to discontinue the practice, as my brain is having increasing difficulty remembering what comes directly after three. It starts with an F. I know it does.

Alex Ziebart
: When I'm queueing on my DPS, I tab out and play a different game for 15-20 minutes. On my healer, I brace myself so I don't get whiplash zoning into a heroic so fast.

Eliah Hecht
: I have about enough time to cross my fingers hoping it's not Old Kingdom again.

Robin Torres: I tend to my farm in Country Life.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Dungeon Finder and gear disparity

There is some confusion as to whether/how the Dungeon Finder matches characters according to internal gear score. To the best of my knowledge, it actually attempt to create a discrepancy between characters' gear, so that you're likely to wind up with a few heavily geared members 'carrying' lesser-geared members. This is directly contrary to a claim I've seen circulating that the system attempts to match internal gear scores.

If the system doesn't attempt to create disparate groups, it should, and if it does, I'm glad it does. It may be disheartening to see someone in your group in full blues or maybe even a couple greens, instead of the now-familiar suit o' purples, but as some commenters pointed out in my post on Dungeon Finder bingo, we all started out in blues and greens at 80 (with the possible exception of some crafted gear and BoEs), and heroics were designed to be run with that gear. Where are the epics supposed to come from, for a pre-raid character?

Furthermore, a less-geared character might actually need some of the gear that drops in the ilvl 200 heroics (i.e. everything except CC, FoS, PoS, and HoR), which is a nice change of pace from the usual shardfest. It may take you a few extra minutes to farm your emblems, but PuGs are about more than just you: they're about a group of people coming together to help each other out, and enjoy a dungeon.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances

The Art of War(craft): Getting your groove back with a little PvP

Zach is a Battlegrounds freak. Even if he doesn't raid or quest or sell things at the auction house, he'll make sure to get a small dose of Battlegrounds PvP to brighten up his day. You should, too. They're like vitamins. Bloody, face-melting, honor-gaining, sword-clashing vitamins.

This little thing called patch 3.3 came out some time back, maybe you'd heard. I had planned it to be my return from an unintentionally self-imposed hiatus from hardcore play, considering that all the tools would now be in place to allow all players of all gear levels to catch up the the penultimate level of content. It was a good plan, except that a few things here and there kept me from jumping right into it when the Fall of the Lich King went live.

The new Dungeon Finder system is getting rave reviews from everyone who's tried it. I think it's an awesome tool -- quite possibly one of the best things to happen to the game. The coolest thing about it for me is that the concept stemmed from the Battlegrounds! That's right... the Battlegroup-wide grouping system is inspired by the way Battlegrounds get players from various realms from way back since Patch 1.12 in 2006. Who'd have thunk it, right? The rest of the PvE population getting something good -- something really, really good -- from the PvP aspect of the game.

Blizzard has been cleverly trying to sprinkle PvP elements into the PvE side of the game, such as the Princess Delrissa encounter in Magisters' Terrace, and its more recent, scaled-up version, the Faction Champions in the Trial of the Crusader. If the message isn't already clear, Blizzard is trying to make you like PvP. At any rate, this whole new PUG craze is a happy byproduct of the cross-realm Battleground system. The only difference is, in Battlegrounds, group composition isn't as important.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing up after the glorious patch 3.3

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves nothing more than to gaze down upon the whole of Northrend from one of the floating chunks of stone around Dalaran and realize that at some point, a mage has probably killed every living thing down there. At least the targetable ones, anyway. And the ones you can't target? I'm sure more than one mage has certainly tried.

So I'm officially nominating patch 3.3 for "best patch ever" status. Here's a short list of the highlights of this patch:
  • Three highly challenging, fun, lore-filled 5-man instances, full of sweet loot
  • A massive new raid, with four gated sections, 12 bosses, and the promise of eventually being able to shove a Fireball up the Lich King's tailpipe
  • The incredible, game-changing Dungeon Finder Tool, which is responsible for peace in the Middle East, has brought an end to the recession, and has cured cancer
  • A few choice mage buffs, including a PvE viable Frost spec
  • Quest Tracking without the need for an addon
  • Quel'delar and Shadowmourne
  • A swiftly approaching new Arena Season
  • Weekly raid quests
  • The Kalu'ak Fishing Derby
  • Perky the Pug
  • A host of little changes for low level characters
  • Rocket bare
Not shabby, right? And best of all, Blizzard has managed to deploy the majority of this new content without also deploying a host of bugs, glitches, and instability, or otherwise making the game unplayable for awhile as we've come to expect from patches this large. There were some log-in issues and bugginess on day one, but by day two, everything was running relatively smoothly by day two. I'm being relatively conservative when I say that Blizzard, in my personal opinion, has hit this one out of the park.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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