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The Pros and Cons of LFG (Dungeon / Raid / BG Finder)

Posted Mon, Jun 11, 2012 by Messiah

Over time how we get into groups for dungeons, raids, arenas, and battlegrounds have all changed pretty dramatically.  This is due to the addition of first the Dungeon Finder tool, then the Battleground queue tool, and later on the arena system and recently the Raid Finder tool.  All of these collectively are referred to as Looking for Group tools, and most commonly referred to by the short forms below:

  • LFG (Looking for Group tool) / Dungeon Finder: referring to the tool that helps put together groups for 5 player instances and heroics.
  • BG Queue: This tool helps you queue up for and get into battleground.
  • Arena Queue: This tool enters you into the arena system.
  • Raid Finder: The newest tool which helps you find a raid group to join, you can find Raid Finder Tips and Tricks here.

History of LFG


This is a typical LFG tool screen, this one for finding groups for dungeons (both normal and heroic).

In the beginning when you wanted to find a group, you had to either ask in general chat, guild chat, or zone chat.  This meant actually talking to people and finding your own group. This meant we had to talk to players, make friends, and be polite to get into a group. Sometimes it was a pain in the backside, since it was possible to be looking for a group for an instance that no one was interested.  This mean a lot of time wasted looking for groups that you may never find.

Blizzard saw that players were having issues with getting groups, and were getting frustrated with it taking so much time for finding a group, traveling to the site, before they even got to play in thier instance or battleground. Therefore they build all of the above mentioned LFG tools to help players out.

As with any system though there are good points and bad points to consider.  Therefore let’s look at the pros and cons of these LFG systems and how to make the best use of them in the game.

The Pros of LFG systems

Very Easy to use – All of the LFG systems are extremely easy to use, pretty much all you have to do is decide which you want to use, pick your role, and queue up.  Once you have done that, you simply wait for the queue to find you a group and you are teleported to the instance, raid, battleground, or arena.  This makes is extremely convenient to use, as you have no requirement to do pretty much anything other than wait. If you want to see how easy it is to use check out the guide on how to use the Dungeon Finder.

No Travel required – One of the biggest benefits that the LFG tools offer is the fact that you do not need to travel to any of the instances, raids, battlegrounds, or arenas like we used to have to.  Way back before meeting stones, everyone had to physically make their way to the relevant site to participate, this often meant 10-20 minutes of travel time once you found a group before everyone actually made their way to the site.  Then meeting stones came, and that helped, but you still needed at least some players at the site.  Now with the LFG systems you are immediately teleported into the site, and back to where you where when you are done (or any other time you wish).

Speed – For those of us with busy lives, the old system of having to log on and spend 20-60 minutes just looking for a group quickly got to be a pain.  Unless you were in a very large and busy guild, you had little hope of getting into a group in less than 30 minutes.  This combined with the travel time talked about above, meant that often up to an hour or more of your time was wasted before you even got into an instance to play.  The new system means signing on, clicking a few buttons and waiting a few minutes and presto you are in the instance, especially if…

Instant Queues for Tanks, and often Healers – For the dungeon and raid finder tools, you pretty much get in instantly if you are a tank or healer.  This is an awesome feature and heavily promotes players at least trying these underplayed specs.

Provides Bonuses for using it – By using the LFG tools you are rewarded with additional perks, such as extra experience, extra gold, and either valor, justice, arena, or honor points.  These can be used to help purchase even better gear which will allow you to work on even harder content by advancing your gear level.

The Cons of LFG systems

Removes the social aspect – Due to the simplicity of getting into a group, and never having to talk to anyone, even once you are in the group, the LFG tools pretty much remove the social aspect of the game.  This is a really bad thing for the game, since an MMO is supposed to be about social interaction and working together with other players.  By removing that requirement from the game, detracts from the game as a whole.  There is fewer opportunities to make friends and create ongoing groups to play with simply because it is so easy to just click a button and be in a group.

Paired with people off server – This is almost a continuation of the above removal of the social aspect, but is a bit more.  In addition to not having to make friends or deal with people, by having groups created with players that are not even on your server it means that many times players are not even polite or communicative.  After all they are likely to never see you again, never have to deal with you again, and therefore act like it. 

Many players treat LFG players as extensions of the game and view you as expendable and just there for their enjoyment.  Don’t get me wrong, there are players out there that are friendly, helpful, and respectful, but is seems the number of them out there decreases over time due to the majority of players realizing there are no real repercussions by acting poorly.  When groups were formed purely by players on the same server, if you acted badly it quickly got spread around on the server to not group with you.  You therefore had to play nice, or not get to play at all, which is how it should be.


Shown is a very fast DPS queue at only 11 minutes, while logged on as a healer or tank it was listed at less than a minute.

Long Queue Times for DPS Players – While this is a negative for DPS players, it is the mirror opposite of the plus for Tanks and Healers.  What it really means is that the plethora of DPS players really should try tanking and healing.

Players cheating the Gear check / role check systems – This has a lot to do with the loss of the social aspect and playing with players from off server.  Players using the PVE queues often either cheat the gear check system by equipping any high item level gear regardless of the fact that it may not be for their spec.  Please also queue for roles that they have no experience playing or sometimes do not even have the gear to play.  Since the game does not have the intelligence built into it to check for these things players have figured out that they can cheat it.

How to make the best use of the LFG tools

Use them often! (especially while leveling) – The tools allow you to port to the instance, battleground, arena, or raid instantly and then port back to your previous location as soon as you are done.  This is a huge feature while leveling, since it allows you to jump in to something different, and then return to your previous activity when you are ready.  This helps keep you doing various different things and staying more entertained in the game.  While leveling it also helps you flip into instances and get some really great gear before returning to your leveling.

Use them at max level even more often – These tools are what really helps you advance your gear and character at the end game.  No matter if you are into PVE and focus on doing dungeons, heroics, and raids, or if you are into PVP and therefore focus on battlegrounds or arenas, these activities are there to help get better gear that allows you to better your character over time. 

Check your Gear Level – As you advance through the game and try to sign up for harder and harder instances you must pay attention to your gear level and the required gear level to sign up for the instances or raids you want to get into.  If  you are below the level required, make sure you check out your gear to make sure you don’t have some form of vanity trinket or item equipped.  If not, check for your lowest item level gear and see if you can get an upgrade from either faction quartermasters, the auction house, your professions, or quests in the area you are working on.  Work on replacing the lowest item level pieces first to bring your overall gear level up.  Keep in mind though, that PVP gear has no place in PVE content, so while you may easily find a high level PVP gear piece, do not be tempted to equip it to meet the gear level requirements, it’s cheating.  Almost every piece of PVP gear will provide far less PVE utility than a real PVE item of even several levels below.

Play nice! – This to me is one of the biggest ones.  Play nice with your fellow players, remember that they are real people and treat them as you would like to be treated.  Sign up for things you are able to do, have the gear for it, and if you don’t know something ask politely.  Everyone has to start new at sometime, go ahead and speak up and ask when you need help.

Play as a Tank or Healer - If you really want to get into groups quickly, play as a tank or healer in PVE or as a healer in PVP. These specs are always required and will either get you into a group quickly, or have you in demand in one.

 


Decent write-up, but it's pretty easy to tell you're definitely in favor of the LFD tool in WoW. You didn't hit all the cons, and failed to recognize the major flaw the whole concept is based on.

"No Travel required" is just as much a con as it is a pro. Why? Because it empties out world zones. Players have little reason to leave major cities/hubs any more. No need to go do quests, because instances provide better rewards. Sure there's still resources to gather, but that'll take place in one zone, and likely only in a small portion of that zone. Here's a good example. I used to play on Stormreaver, which is an original PvP server. This server has never had low population issues. It has had overpopulation issues. Historically, Stranglethorn Vale was a great leveling zone. Lots of players to group with for quests, and lots of players of the other faction to kill. Enter the LFD queue tool: less than a month later, Stranglethorn Vale was a ghost town. I went there to level a bit with my rogue and saw one other player of the opposite faction, who was at level cap. A quick check of all the players of my faction in the zone showed 2 other players. From hundreds of players to less than 10, virtually overnight. Nothing else had changed in that span.

But none of that addresses the major flaw the whole concept of a group-finder queue is based on, which you conveniently wrote a whole paragraph on, and yet failed to recognize the flaw. So I'll quote the bit that really highlights the flaw:

"This combined with the travel time talked about above, meant that often up to an hour or more of your time was wasted before you even got into an instance to play."

If that time is wasted time, then your game is no longer an MMO. It has become nothing more than a co-op RPG, as all the relevant content is instanced. In a real MMO, looking for a group to run some more difficult content is generally kind of a #2 priority thing you do in the background while you go about your business and take care of other more important things.

But not all looking-for-group tools are bad. There's only two things that makes them bad.

1. Queues. I will never play a game that uses this function again, ever. Queues do everything listed in the article above, except it's even more ugly in actual practice.

2. Instant travel. Almost as bad as queues, the reasons for which I gave above.

A good LFG tool in an MMO should basically work like a server-wide bulletin board, tailored specifically for group-finding. That's all you need.

Thanks for the comments Doc,

Yes I realize that it does help to empty out the world, which is a big con.

I thought I covered that in the big section about it destroying the social aspects of the game and continued it in the off server section.

You are correct in the fact that I really like the Dungeon and Raid finder for simplicity and ease of use, but that really does conflict with my desire for a more social game than WoW currently is. I am lucky that I have a large base of friends to play with, that I have played with for a long time, and just use the LFG tools to supplement groups when there are only 1 or 2 friends on.

I do like the ability to do that immensely, but really do dislike the destruction of the social aspects.

I thought that came across, but if not, hopefully this clears it up a bit.

Messiah

LFG is a double edged sword imo. The pro is you can get a group together during the day when many are working making it difficult to form your own group from your guild or otherwise. The con imo is that as a capped player and damage dealer, your wait is long and at times very boring.

Your really precluded from doing other things, advancing professions or secondaries and quests, etc as you can wear down your equip durability to a level where your suddenly called into the dungeon at say an 80% equip durability level and not carrying all the necessary equipment to significantly improve your durability instantly. Even with back up equip, after utilzing it, you would not have any backup while in the instance. There should be a warning system as to when you are going to be teleported to the instance, say two or three minutes. Then at least you have time to extract yourself from what your doing and prep yourself accordingly.

I agree, LFG is obviously, by its nature, anti-social. That's why I usually like grouping with my guildies for dungeons, raids, battlegrounds, etc. You can socialize and develope teamwork plus you know who the players are. In LFG as a PUG (pick up group), you never know who your going to be grouped with. One time i had three players who did not speak English, one spoke german, another spanish and the third french. Experienced players though so you could watch and take over when the tank pull started and healing is pretty obvious to the healer.

Best group I ever had was unexpected. It was on a quest in Abyssal Depths where you had to go underwater and come upon this giant cobra to kill for completing the quest. My goul and I tried several times to kill it and its guards but failed. I'm hiding behind a large crystal trying to figure how to kill this thing and suddenly a Draenei Mage appears and also failed to bring it down. Then, three more Draenei Mages appear, I'm an Orc UH DK. They all started with their ranged death rays so I took a chance and lept out from my cover knowing if I didn't do it now I would probably not be able complete this quest. Went to the melee distance and began banging away on the mob, and he finally went down with all five of us unloading.

No, they did not attempt kill me. They knew what I knew in that both ranged and meleee was what was needed to bring it down. They helped me and I helped them. Had they unloaded on me, I would have been dead meat!! I was able to complete the quest and I'm sure they or whoever needed to complete the quest also got it completed. Whoever said the Horde and Alliance can't work together, at times, for mutual benefit?

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