Raid Finder: Pros and Cons
The announced upcoming Raid Finder offers the ability for casual players to in theory find raid groups, will it help or hurt raiding?
With the recent announcement that Blizzard will add in a cross-realm raid finder, there are a lot of concerns out there about what it will do to the game. Sure it will give all players at least a chance to jump into a raid and see some new content, but will it do them any good?
Before everyone gets up in arms and says oh no, another raider bashing on casual players that want to raid, let me explain that in Cataclysm I rarely raid anymore. Sure, I jump in on a character or two once in a while, and I have characters in several guilds that make that possible, but I dont raid 5 nights a week like I used to. God forbid, Im actually pretty damn casual. Eek.
So knowing that I have been playing fairly casually for the last 6 months or so, shouldnt I be stoked about these changes? In a way I am, I hope it works out, but I see a whole lot more pitfalls with this system than possibilities of success. Before going into a rant though, lets take a look at some of the good and bad points about a cross-realm raid finder that everyone assumes will function essentially the same as the Dungeon finder system.
The Potential Pitfalls Surrounding the Raid Finder
There are a lot of negative potentials surrounding a looking for raid tool. Some are due to game mechanics, some based on players themselves.
First up, people dont use the system that is in place to find raiders on a single realm due to issues with finding competent people rather than people that just want to raid. Why would they actually use a cross realm one that adds more issues, the biggest being the fact that you are not likely to see that player again and therefore they are less likely to behave due to anonymity?
Next up the biggest issue with the LFG tool right now is waiting for tanks and healers. Queuing for a 10 player raid wont change this as the ratios dont change it is still 1 tank per 5 players, and healers it gets worse since when learning raid content most 10 player groups need 3 healers. It gets a bit better ratio wise in 25 player raids, but the requirement to make sure they are awesome tanks and healers is much more important.
In the LFG system currently the only check in place is item level, and many players cheat that system with PVP gear. While sometimes you can get away with it in a 5 player instance (even though you never should) in a raid it would be catastrophic. Even gear level is not a good indication, as I have seen players of the same class and spec with item levels of 360+ do 8,000 DPS and 16,000 DPS. And yes, on the same fight in the same circumstances. One player obviously has a clue and can play, the other should go back to Mario Kart.
Next up you are going to be forced to rely on random people in a raid situation. Two issues with that. First you need to find a competent leader that knows the fights, can explain things clearly, and that people will follow. If it is a random group, how likely are you to find that, since most of those players will be leading raid groups in guilds. Secondly, most players in pugs are idiots and will never follow directions, dont know the fights, dont follow instructions, and will jerk around at random times for no reason.
Another big issue is the fact that in most raids, the easiest way to make sure everyone knows what's going on is through vent. However, being a PUG group, who's vent are you going to use, who is going to arrange it, will everyone have vent, and more. Without voice raids are incrementally harder and not everyone understands that.
The Potential Benefits of a Raid Finder
Dont get me wrong there are several good points to implementing a cross realm raid finder tool. The good points that I can think of are as follows.
The biggest positive is that more people get to see more of the content in the game. This is a positive, as a lot of effort goes into its design, and the more people that can see it and play it, the more demand there will be for more of it. Its a win for everyone.
Since more players will be looking for raids if there is a tool to potentially easily find groups, then it should be easier to find groups to raid with. While finding bodies will be easier, that may or may not mean that finding competent players is any easier.
Another big positive is that many players on low population servers should give them a chance to raid. Some of these players are on those servers or on a low population faction because of friends or family and really dont want to move just to raid. Some of those players have the gear, skill, and desire to raid, but just dont get the opportunity because of low population.
Lastly, this is a great thing for many players with a pile of alts that are geared for raiding. Many players are in guilds that only run main character runs for progression and then the odd alt run on a weekend or something, but other than that you are expected to be on your main or nothing. Making groups easier to find will make running alts that much easier. It also helps non-alts as the players bringing in alts will obviously know the fights already and be able to assist greatly.
The Word of the Messiah
I have real mixed opinions on this one. For the casual person sure its a good thing that they can get in and see the content, great. I talked about several of the good and bad points above, and there are probably many more that slip my mind at this moment.
However, the main issue to me is that all the casuals that use any tool get in to see and play new content will actually want to be able to beat that content, and I worry about that. Without skill, coordination, communication, and teamwork it is almost impossible to beat a raid. A group of highly casual players will be coming in with none of those things. How long before their complaints that it is too hard further dilute raiding difficulty so that they can beat a raid without any measurable amount of skill or coordination? I am not saying that will happen for sure, but if it does it will ruining raiding for everyone else.
On the flip side, none of us really have to use it at all. So if it becomes an exercise in futility and players end up spending 20 hours cycling a 100 players through before they defeat 3 bosses, it really doesnt matter to the players not in there. If you have a raid group already, the tool being in the game or not in the game really has no effect on you.
As you can see I really did try to look at and understand both sides and get it however I just cant wrap my head around it being a good idea.
No matter if I chose to use the tool or not, I see it as an exercise in futility and frustration for many players. I would seriously love it not to be, but seeing the number of bad PUGs out there, I have to bet against it.
A raid just by its very nature is a lot more complex and difficult than a 5 player instance. If the majority of the player base out there cannot really handle and play in 5 player heroics (Im looking at the 80%+ of you out there that I see in Heroic ZA and ZG that cant do over 9,000 DPS despite having an average item level of over 360!) then how do they handle something that requires at least double the skill, coordination, and teamwork. I just cant see it happening.
Never mind players that jump in using the tool and then refuse to join vent because they wont install applications on their computer off the interweb. Sigh. You would be surprised at the number of players that have applied to raid in guilds that I have been in that would not put ventrillo on their computers and then complained when we booted them. Also if the raid is purely casual whos vent will they use? What if no one has a vent server?
In a perfect world, where everyone could understand this game, and play at even a 75% level, a raid LFG tool would be awesome. However in todays gaming environment, with the majority of players not even able to play their characters to a 50% level I just see too much pain on the horizon.
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