Remember how, only a few days ago, I praised the new LFG system in WoW?
I'm here now to tell you that I was a bit premature. All is not sugarplums, roses, and nude models.
The bottom line is something that we all already knew: people are assholes.
The core problem with the dungeon finder is also its core value proposition: it allows you to spend more time in random groups. Not only that, but it cycles you through those groups much more quickly, and pulls those groups from a larger pool of people. Add in the fact that most of those people are from another server and will never see you again, and you have the perfect recipe for a highly concentrated example of John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. I'm far from the first person to point out this downside of the system.
Being exposed to more people at a more rapid clip for longer periods of time means 1) you are spending more time with assholes, 2) you are seeing more different kinds of assholes (and remember, each asshole only has to be an asshole once), and 3) you are increasing the number of terrible pug experiences you can have per hour.
After the first day, people started to learn how to game the system and they started to figure out that they could bring their undergeared alts to everything, and other players wouldn't have much choice but to carry them (because of the penalties for leaving and the vote-kick timer, which I'll get into later). So over the past few days, almost every group I join has two people doing 1.5k or less dps (below the tank). Out of the dozens of groups I ran this weekend, only 3 were reasonably pleasant and competent. I had no idea before just how shitty WoW's community actually is. I'm not sure I want to keep playing a game that includes so many people who are just wastes of breath and Fritos.
My stand-out bad experiences: a hunter joins heroic OK and proceeds to do 600 dps. When asked why, he says that he started the instance with his crossbow skill at 1, and he didn't bring any other weapons. He says he "could care less" about how rude, inconsiderate, and unfair that is to the group.
Or how about this: I join H Occ on my super-geared main. I see 4 people from the same guild on another server are my group, and they have decent gearscores. So I compliment them, saying "it's nice to see a geared group, so many of my groups lately have had sub 1k dps". We go through the run, and get to a part when we are about to land on a floating platform. Everyone gets into landing position, and the mage actually dismounts, so I think it's OK to land. After the mage dismounts, the tank and healer go off alone, still on their drakes, to kill a random drake nearby. The tank gets killed. On an unnecessary drake that hadn't even seen us. At the same time, the mage runs forward and aggros the pack. I assume we are dead, so I run around in circles waiting for the wipe.
After we wipe, the group starts screaming at me about how I should have gone into frost presence and prevented the wipe (without the healer, mind you), and says I'm a terrible player. I tried to defuse the situation and be classy, but they wouldn't have it. They kept flinging insults, even though they had actually just wiped in a 5 man as a group from the same guild, despite their raid gear. They must have been so embarrassed to fail like that in front of me that they had to blame me. It was pathetic. I just let it go, and just kept running the instance, because I didn't really care about what random internet idiot said. But then we kill the 3rd boss and are flying up to engage the last boss, and they vote to kick me out of nowhere so I can't get my frost emblems. Classy.
But that's not even the worst part of the dungeon finder. The worst is the number of people showing up with quest greens or empty gem slots (not even getting into the lack of enchants). Please, please, please have the consideration to at least put a green gem in there before you queue up for a heroic. Remember that your group is made up of other people whose time is valuable, and you do not have a right to waste their time. You are not entitled to be carried, and they are not "bad people" if they don't want to pick up your slack.
THe LFG system is shaping up to be a way to yoke geared, competent players and pressure them to carry crappy, undergeared, inconsiderate players (presumably so that those baddies continue to pay a monthly fee instead of quitting because they can't get a group that will keep them). More on that later, with a great quote from Comrade Ghostcrawler. Sure, no one is "forcing" you, but if your a good player who doesn't use the system, you are screwed out of a ton of frost emblems that the terribads are getting. You are punished for not putting yourself at the mercy of the system. I can't wait until good players don't need frost emblems anymore and the LFG system becomes a cesspit of bads all expecting each other to carry them to phat epix. Mmm, community!
The rapid-fire cycling of assholes would, in itself, probably be bearable if it weren't for the ruleset that comes along with the system. I understand why Blizzard used the rules they did, but I think, in light of live-server conditions, they need to be revised.
As it stands, if you join a group and someone is immediately an asshole, you have two options: 1) continue the run, or 2) leave, incurring a 15-minute wait until you may queue again. You may not vote to kick someone until 15 minutes into the run.
Think about that for a second. If you are a perfectly nice and capable person, you join a run, and someone in that run is immediately an asshole, you are the only one who is punished. You can't kick him, but if you leave, you have to wait 15 minutes before you can even queue again, while the asshole can just let someone else fill your spot. The asshole gets the run he wanted with almost no interruption, but you have to pay 15 minutes of your life (plus queue wait time, if you are a dps) because you weren't willing to let him impose his assholishness on you.
Great thinking, Blizz.
Now let's say the assholishness only emerges later in the run. Now you can vote kick the guy. However, even if you do kick him, he does not incur a deserter debuff. So he can requeue right away and have almost no interruption in his ability to punish others with his presence.
I think Blizzard's current rules could be vastly improved:
1) Allow vote-to-kick from the beginning.
If I join a group, and the first thing out of the rogue's mouth is "lol you fags are gay", I should be able to kick him. I should not have to leave the group and be punished with a 15-minute wait to requeue.
The 15-minute grave period before you can vote-kick is especially onerous to me given Ghostcrawler's rationale for why it is in place (emphasis mine, of course):
"I suspect it's going to take a few tries before we get the vote kick thing feeling right. I hope it's obvious what purpose it serves though. We feared without some kind of grace period that a common behavior would be to automatically kick someone in greens or without certain achievements or perhaps even someone who would roll against you on stuff (in the partial premade situation)."
The reason you can't kick someone immediately is that - dear god, let me clutch my pearls - you might kick someone for being in greens!?!? Screw. You. It is not my obligation to carry slackers, no matter how important it is to you to keep their subscription money coming.
Aside from that outrage, the benefits of being able to immediately kick "Bustanutz" vastly outweigh the risk that we might dare to kick someone who is undergeared for the instance. Get your priorities straight, GC!
2) No deserter debuff if you leave the group in the first 2 minutes.
This way, you aren't stuck with the choice between running the dungeon with assholes or punishing yourself with a 15 minute wait while the assholes get to fill your spot instantly and keep running.
3) Apply a fresh deserter debuff if you are vote-kicked. To prevent griefing, allow a group to only vote-kick one person every 15 minutes.
You should not be able to requeue immediately after being vote-kicked.
4) Do not let a player queue if they have even a single empty gem slot.
The system should give them back an error message explaining why they were not allowed to queue, as well. The system already uses a highly lenient gearscore measurement to prevent someone in full greens from entering your heroic. Simply add this on.
I believe these simple changes will go a long way toward giving the vast majority of us, who are pleasant, competent people, a way to deal with assholes that is more punishing to the assholes than it is to us. They will also greatly encourage good behavior and increase player satisfaction with the LFG experience, while having little to no negative effect.