Monday, December 14, 2009

LFG [of jerks], or: Why I Hate the Dungeon Finder Now

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.

Why does this food taste like asshole?

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!

Pictured: good players (left), morons, slackers, and assholes (top center)

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.


Jormundgard said...

I don't understand how your experience could be this bad. I've done over 20 of these, and every one has been an absolute faceroll.

Also, I think most players and developers would argue that heroics are *supposed* to be done in greens. It's not necessarily their fault that everyone else is overgeared for heroics.

And, sadly, these aren't BC heriocs. They're just additional level 80 instances, and players are going to use them for this purpose.

I also think it's a little harsh to insist that a new player is going to perform at a raider level. 600 dps is pretty abysmal, but it's where most of us started when we first hit max-level.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

@Jormundgard: That's BS.

600dps can be achieved by level 70, and anyone going into a level 80 instance or heroic at below 1200dps should be looked at as a failure of a player.

@Hatch: There are a few times where gemming an item would be considered pointless. Though it's truly rare, so I'll concede my point, just wanted to make the statement.

As for doing heroics in greens, there's no serious issue if some items are green. But it sounds to me like you're saying ALL they're items are green. Then I'd agree with you. There are so many cheap blue items that can be bought from a crafter that are for level 78, which would allow you to enter Heroics at the "pulling your own weight" level.

Thing is, as long as they're doing they're part, I don't care if they're missing a gem, or have some greens on them.

Stabs said...

Ha ha love the tags.

I think in the end it's about doing what's fun for you. Progression is close to fun for most people.

If to progress you have to play with green-geared people can you not find the fun? Who cares what they're wearing - if they do < 1k dps whoo hoo I'm top, link the dps meter over and over and /yell Yay me!

If it really bothers you take a break. When you come back in a month's time all these green-geared slackers will be in T9 and will have to drag your undergeared ass through the content.

Robert said...

I'm finding the new LFG system to be a mixed bag. In general, my experience has been slighly positive, particularly when playing my tank, who gets groups instantly. If some member in the group is undergeared or can't DPS themselves out of a wet paper bag, I simply drop out. Since I'm not doing the random dungeon, I don't get the 15 minute wait timer. The cost of this convenience is that I'm not getting any frost badges, but I have a guild for doing random dungeons.

You're right on about how terrible some of the players are, not just in gear and skill, but in attitude. It's like the new system gives them license to act at their worse. It's definitely made my tolerance level drop, giving my no problem about simply dropping group in the middle of the run.

Hatch said...

@ Jorm: 1) They are NOT meant to be done in greens. They are meant to be done in blues you got from running the dungeons on regular mode. Right now, everyone thinks they can skip right past that step, without even stopping at AH for some of the boe blues (which are cheap right now because of how much we are all running instances)

2) Pangoria is right: if you are doing less than 1200 dps even in greens upon dinging a new 80, you really need to work on your ability to play your class. 800 was routinely achievable at 70 in Kara gear, let alone 600. The reason the hunter in my group was doing 600 is *that's how much his pet does automatically*. He missed every shot he fired himself.

Bottom line: heroics are NOT the first step after someone dings 80. High-end quests and regular dungeons are the first step.

@Pangoria: While I have seen a few people showing up actually in all greens, and I've seen multiple people show up in half greens and half ungemmed blues/epics, the real problem is less a gear thing and more the ability to play their class. Most often, it's someone in epics doing 1-1.5k dps when I know it's not only possible, but easy, to do 2k in blues. That's just as inconsiderate as showing up in greens.

@Stabs: You make a lot of sense, and in the end I am learning to stop worrying and love the suck. :) At the same time, I think the system could be improved, and people could stand to be a lot more considerate and stop thinking of themselves as entitled to get carried. Don't want to take a break because I want to raid, and the whole reason I feel pressured to pug at all is to gather frost emblems to help my guild progress in raids.

@Robert: I like your attitude. Yesterday I discovered that if I drop out of a group, I can just get on an alt and queue while the debuff ticks down, so it's not really a problem for me anymore. (running on alts to get frost emblems for primordial saronite, so we can craft stuff faster without slowing down our tier 10)

Thanks to everyone who commented. Even if I disagree with you, I really appreciate you sharing your opinions.

Hatch said...

I'd also like to add that my standard for "carrying your weight" is actually pretty lenient. I do NOT want someone overgeared. I do NOT want someone who keeps up with me, even. Here is my standard:

Could we complete the instance with reasonable success if every member of the group performed at your level?

That's it. If all 3 dps in a group did 600, *they would not complete the instance*. That's where my standard comes from.

Jormundgard said...

Well, I did heroics in green gear when I turned 80, and I doubt that I was alone. I'm sure I did more than 600 dps, but I remember the so-called "heroics" being very easy in that gear.

And while anyone who cares enough about WoW to read blogs about it can do 600dps with their eyes closed, there are a lot of people who really don't understand the game mechanics very well. I also suspect that 600dps was the worst that you saw, not the typical "unworthy" dps. 1500dps was very common when starting heroics, if I recall.

But bottom line: heroics are the new normal instances. That's where people will go to gear up. To expect otherwise is asking for irrational behavior from the player.

Juston said...

Let me tell you what pisses me off.

Jerks wearing all purples with a 5000+ gearscore not knowing their class and getting out DPS'd by me, with three crappy epics and quest blues (it seems to be DK's more often than not).

And srsly? When I hit 80, I made sure I had somewhat decent gear (no greens for one) before I entered a heroic out of respect of the community.

Hatch said...

@Jorm: Just gonna do the good ole "quote you and respond":

"Well, I did heroics in green gear when I turned 80, and I doubt that I was alone. I'm sure I did more than 600 dps, but I remember the so-called "heroics" being very easy in that gear."

Not easy when your entire group was in that gear. If they were "very easy", then you were making everyone else pick up your slack. If you can't see why this is unfair to them, then you are working *way too hard* to avoid cognitive dissonance. You should have been doing normal instances first.

"And while anyone who cares enough about WoW to read blogs about it can do 600dps with their eyes closed, there are a lot of people who really don't understand the game mechanics very well. I also suspect that 600dps was the worst that you saw, not the typical "unworthy" dps. 1500dps was very common when starting heroics, if I recall."

Yep, 600 was the worst. You were the one who said "it's where most of us started out when we first hit max-level", which you're now agreeing isn't true . . . which is it?

Much more common is 1k-1500 dps (literally 90% of the pug dps I've encountered as I do 4 randoms every day since the patch). I'm vaguely annoyed with those people, but if they gem their shit and clearly went to the AH or did a few normals, I don't say anything to them about it or try to kick them (like I do with the guy in ungemmed greens).

I think it's very revealing that you use the word "unworthy" and put it in quotes even though *I never* used that word. It makes me think the fundamental difference here is that I'm looking for fairness, and you're looking for social esteem. Do you not care about fairness as long as everyone considers you a "good person" or "worthy" or whatever? Please, explain to me why bringing your green-geared fresh 80 to a heroic is fair to the other people in the group who at least did normals and bought BoEs first?

"But bottom line: heroics are the new normal instances. That's where people will go to gear up. To expect otherwise is asking for irrational behavior from the player."

Bullshit. Yes, people *will* go there straight at 80 before doing normals or gemming . . . *if they are jerks*. The only reason going straight there is "rational behavior" is because the considerate players aren't given the tools they need to deny that person the opportunity to LEECH off of them. That's why I'm proposing the changes to the ruleset. So that good players aren't screwed every time they Q, and bad players aren't rewarded for being terribads and/or jerks. If you have no conscience, of course leeching off of the effort of others is perfectly "rational". But if you have any sense of fairness or integrity at all, leeching off of good, hardworking people is *never* "rational".

Hatch said...

Another note about "unworthy":

I find it intriguing that some people will fight tirelessly to defend their right to leech. Half as much effort would get them enough gear or knowledge to pull their weight. It reminds me of how, as a very young child, I would spend 20 minutes arguing with my mom to try to get out of a 2-minute chore.

Jormundgard said...

I feel like I've really offended you here, so I want to apologize for saying anything that might have upset you.

I didn't mean to suggest that you used the word "unworthy", it was just me assigning a label to something that, based on your description, you considered to be intolerable, and while I would not have found an abnormally low DPS unusual or offensive (even if I agree it is example of poor performance). I should have used more care and not implied that it was a quotation, and I apologize.

As for the "where we started" comments, I meant this more generically, in that when I first reached level 60 in WoW 1.0, I didn't have the first idea what I was doing, had never heard of a DPS meter, and I'm sure I did the equivalent of 600 dps at that time. Over the last five years, I have met and still meet people who perform just as poorly. But in almost every case, it's because they simply don't have any idea what might be expected of them.

All I meant was that there are terrible people out there who don't realize it, and surely don't realize any offense that they may be causing. Again, I apologize if I appeared to be a self-contradiction.

And while the craftable options did not exist at the time, and so it's not a fair comparison, I will say that many of us truly did do these heroics in green gear. For the most part, we were absolutely hungry for any epics we could get and start Naxxramas ASAP. I guess I felt like I was "reminding" you of these early days, but I now see that it wasn't everyone's experience and I shouldn't have assumed that it was.

But I really want to stress that I wasn't trying to dismiss your comments. I've commented here in the past and I love your writing, which I hope has been clear to you. I wasn't trying to back you into an illogical corner, and I'm really not trying to tell you that you were wrong. I was just trying to communicate that it hasn't been my own experience, that I would value "tolerance" over "fairness", but I can see that I severely failed to do this. At this point, all I can do is again apologize, and hope that there is no bad feeling.

Ingemar said...

"But if you have any sense of fairness or integrity at all, leeching off of good, hardworking people is *never* "rational"."

"hardworking"?? This is a GAME! Get a real job you bum! :P

Complete Brainstorming said...

I generally agree that the new system exposes you to a lot of people that think just because it's unlikely you'll ever meet again, they can be complete jerks. I do a little dance every time somebody actually replies to my initial hello.

However, I agree with Jormundgard that running heroics in (some) greens (at the start) is entirely permissible seeing as they *are* supposed to provide you with the gear to start raiding (i.e. blues and purples). That being said, ALL greens is pretty strange seeing as you can easily get half of your gear at least to rare level via questing and maybe all in blues with regular dungeons.

As for the dps, as far as I'm aware, dps meters are currently not able to correctly assess the damage done by people from other servers. So in case of doubt, go by downing-speed rather than Recount.

Hannah said...

Phew. I was looking around for to find out what peoples' opinions are of LFG as I'm about ready to shut down my computer and ignore WoW for the next week. Interesting and well worked out post, by the way.

That player in leveling greens? That's me.

I do know how to play, I've got a main character (of a different class, of course) who is fully geared, something you can't get without at least some skill.

Since I dinged 80 two days ago, I've been jumping through Blizzard's hoops to try and get geared. I've bought some stuff off AH, I've bought the mats and had friends craft stuff for me. But the majority of stuff that's been dropping is prot. You can't tank a heroic until you've got your defense rating at 540. Well, you can, but it's not advisable. So I've got an incredibly crappy set of greens/blues for arms and an incomplete set for prot. What do I do? Run heroics for the hope of drops and badges to buy better gear. While getting the tournament stuff together to buy stuff from there, of course.

I've had the worst run of pugs today I can hardly remember. I got kicked out of VH for complaining when they called me a Jew because I had lower dps than them (was sitting at about 1500 dps). There goes my save to that instance. I've dealt with comments about my dps and gear all day. This last one, we did finish it, but it gets so frustrating.

I can hold between 800-2000 dps. That's not great, I know, not when compared to people in totc and IIC gear. But what else do I do? I can't just quit the group when they turn out to be better than me. All I can do is shut up, do the best I can and not be an idiot. Oh, and take the crap.

So it works both ways. I hope there's going to be some way for everybody to get something out of this, without going mentally insane.

Ink said...

I like the random dungeon finder because it gives me the opportunity to kill jerks.

I like when I get a lazy, rude DPSer who hasn't bothered to gem or enchant, and who auto-shoots for 600 DPS...because I'm the healer, and I hold his life in my hands.

I like when I get a douchebag with 5k+ gear score who still can't beat my blue-geared tank on DPS...because I'm the tank, and I hold his life in my hands.

In real life, it's not okay to kill somebody even if they're a selfish, lazy, rude little brat. In WoW, I get to kill 10 such people before breakfast.

Does wonders for the blood pressure.

Chris said...

I think a solution to the problem would be to have Bliz implement a GS mechanic to the "random" dungeon finder. This would bracket people according to their GS, say per 1000 variance. This would keep everyone happy because newly dinged 80's could earn emblems at a decent pace with other newly dinged 80's and nicely geared people could all do fast runs without having to support freshly dinged players. I'm insterested in your opinion on this Hatch :)

It sucks having someone you have to carry in the group if they're an asshole about it but it's also bad when you've just dinged 80 and you get assholes whining because you dont have a 5k GS... everybody starts somewhere.

Chris said...

Thought i'd quote one of your previous comments Hatch :p

"Don't be an asshole. Being a nice and humble sub-par player is better for your group than being an arrogant ass who happens to be top dps. Take it from the arrogant ass. :)"