Call to Arms! – my take

Blizzard revealed their pan to fix the LFD queue problem using a bit of social engineering.  I won’t go into detail.  I’m sure that everyone who reads WoW blogs has already heard about it at length.

First – my feelings…

Everyone’s first reaction was that dps classes would be really upset about this.  I honestly haven’t heard a single person complain about it.  (well, on the official forums there are complaints, but I don’t give any credibility to most of what is in that cesspool)

I am fine with this.  If it works, then I get a reward – faster queue times.  Now, I’m not a big pet and mount collector so the rewards don’t hold tremendous appeal to me.  Flasks are nice.  Gems are nice.  I don’t feel like I’m missing much by not getting any goody bags.

Next, my predictions…

This may work temporarily.  I’m sure that there are some DKs, warriors, druids and paladins out there that only queue as dps or heals, but might consider queueing as a tank for the reward.

I don’t think it will last long, though.  I don’t think that this system is going to influence the experienced, full-time tanks.  My impression is that its aimed at those who could tank, but don’t because they are intimidated by the requirements of tanking.  The rewards, while somewhat appealing, are not sufficient to make tanks want to withstand the trials of tanking pug groups.

I speak as someone who has a tank toon, but refuses to tank pugs.  This won’t make me change my mind.  Dealing with the snarky comments of overly-entitled dps is more than I can deal with for my $15 a month.  I hate marking targets, and I double-extra-hate when people try to puff up their own leet skills by boasting that CC is for losers.  I hate having to taunt off of dps that won’t follow a kill order.  So for me, this is not going to have an impact.

So, for a while this might make a small uptick in the number of tanks in the system.  As they burn out from the abuse, they will realize that the rewards are not worth it and stop queueing again.

What to do…

Its worth giving this system a try to see how it works.  Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Big Bear Butt suggest that the rewards should be more substantial.  I disagree with that.  Right now, the rewards are just enough to be a slight enticement without creating friction or overt jealousy.  If they gave out the Spectral Tiger mount, as he suggests, then as a dps I would be pretty ticked off.

I think that the only way to get tanks to queue is to either make tanking easier or give the tanks some additional power in the group.

By making tanking easier I mean either going back to the infinite AoE threat model of Wrath (which I don’t want) or make the marking of targets easier or automatic somehow.  I don’t think that this is a good solution.

They can give tanks more power by giving their vote double-weight to kick someone.  If the tank marks targets and a dps ignores the kill order, then it only takes the tank and one other player to vote the bad player out.  Yes, that could be abused, but I think it would mollify a lot of the complaints that tanks have about inept dps.

Possibly the best thing I can envision is a rating system for pugs.  We see many online communities, including Blizzard’s own forums, where people can upvote or downvote forum posts to weed out the crap and highlight the good.  Imagine at the end of each pug you could give any of the players an upvote or downvote.  Over time players would accumulate a rating from their peers.  If a system like this were implemented somehow in the game, so that bad players had longer queue times or that no more than one bad player ended up in a group, then I think the pug system could be improved.



16 Responses to “Call to Arms! – my take”

  1. 1 Kierbuu
    April 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    The problem with the two suggestions you gave is that both punish bad players for being bad. One of the big reasons LFD is successful is that bad players can hide in with the good and the great players. Single them out and they will get upset. Upset players cancel their subscriptions sooner and Blizzard makes less money off of them.

    I’m not blown away with the ‘Call to Arms’ bonus bag, but I can’t think of anything better. Well, they could revamp all the new dungeon content to make the boss mechanics easier while upping tank threat and healer mana regen, but that ain’t likely to happen.

    • April 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      Its true that bad players would get called out for being bad.

      With a rating system, though, the jerks also get called out for being bad. If I run an instance and pull 10k dps, but the whole time I am making a nuisance of myself and ignoring CC and insulting the tank, then I get the same downvote as the player who only does 2k dps. This broadens the definition of “bad” to also mean “obnoxious”.

      I don’t really think Blizzard would adopt this, mostly for financial reasons as you point out. But its a thought.

      • 3 Karmakin
        April 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

        One thing that I think people have to start realizing is that a lot of the time being “bad” is a form of being obnoxious. Of course, there’s the occasional person who is newer and trying but might be making a mistake or something of that nature. That’s fine, and I’ll do anything I can to help.

        That is all too rare unfortunately.

        Bad play, more often than not is a simple lack of caring. The person thinks that they can be carried, and doesn’t have to do very much…it’s a fundamental lack of respect, to be honest.

  2. April 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I’ve got no real opinion of the Call to Arms system as I’m not a tank (or a healer, though we all know this incentive plan is aimed at tanks.) I will enjoy the shorter queue times but honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve complained about queue times. I have plenty to do while waiting OR I’ll just run a random with guildies OR I just wont run one!

    I agree that the tried and true tanks probably wont change their attitudes toward queuing because of this implementation and that in the short term things may seem rosier as a result of more of certain classes queuing as tanks rather than DPS. I also agree that in the long term this isn’t really “fixing” the problems inherent in the LFD function.

    I don’t, however, relish the idea of a “peer rating system.” I think it leaves far too much subjectivity and runs the risk of gross abuse. There will always be some players who “down-vote” others simply out of spite or what have you. There will always be jerks and asshats who get off and trying to rain on someone else’s parade. Just a fact of life in an MMO.

    I don’t have a suggestion though for “fixing” LFD, I will simply continue to utilize it when it suits me and ignore it when it doesn’t. Solves the problem from my perspective anyway.

    • April 11, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      I suspect that the asshats in the game are the minority, but they are the most visible group due to their sheer volume. I expect that in a peer-rating system, the votes by reasonable players would far outweigh the arbitrary downvotes by the jerks.

      I could be completely wrong, though.

  3. 6 Mand
    April 11, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I am with you partially at least. The bag isn’t enough for me to put up with the morons in LFD. I don’t mind ‘bad’ play. Bad play can be fixed with time. I refuse to tolerate the arrogance and abuse, though. I agree with the rating system. Lower rated players would have longer queue times.

    I think a rating system would hurt lower geared players, though. Low gear typically means low dps. It would burn those not up to par.

  4. April 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    The idea of a rating system is good in theory, but I think we would find a major flaw with its application. Most people tend to emphasize the bad rather than the good. What I mean by that is, people would be much more likely to “downvote” a bad performance than they would to “upvote” a good performance. For many, completing a run is just par for the course. It is what’s expected, not something extraordinary. So I think what you would find is many, many more bad votes for poor and obnoxious performances. But the good performances would simply be ignored as expected or average. The end result would be ratings that are heavy on the bottom with bad rankings, but very few people would get the good rankings they perhaps deserve.

  5. April 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    A rating system is a terrible idea. Trolls would downvote everyone because they’re terrible people. The machiavellian players would downvote everyone because it would give them an advantage. The normal people would get downvoted, and suffer.

    • April 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm

      I’m not going to argue, because I don’t have any numbers to back it up. However, my impression is that there are a lot more “normal people” than all the trolls and machiavellians combined. A *LOT* more. The “normal people” are just quiet. Would they actually upvote/downvote? If so, their even-minded, fair influence would drown out the noise from the worst elements.

      But would the “normal people” actually participate? I have no way of knowing.

  6. April 12, 2011 at 4:08 am

    I still don’t know how I feel about this. If it truly helps with the queue times, great. But I am scared that we’ll just get people who queue up as tanks just to get the bags and make the runs painful and long without actually finishing them. I guess we’ll just have to see how things work out.

  7. 11 Karmakin
    April 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I think it’s a good idea..probably the best idea they could do. Tanking by itself is fine. The mechanics work well, actually tanking is fun. But it’s a LOT of responsibility, and a lot of people simply don’t want that. Which is fine. I do think that the end result of this is going to be a healer shortage, to be honest, as sub-par tanks queue up to get the results and healers pull their hair out trying to keep things going. (Healers should have had either a relative output nerf OR a resource nerf. Both were too much, if I had to pick one I’d probably would rather have the output nerf)

    Actually, on a second note they could have reduced a lot of the problems of tanking by reducing the amount of trash in heroics, as my feeling is that it’s marking/controlling trash, and NOT boss encounters, that are frustrating/annoying.

    In any case, I’m a forum/blog poster. And my general response to complaints about DPS queue time before this announcement were as follows. And it’s an interesting question. What would it take to get YOU to not want to play your current class/spec/role and to instead tank or heal? Because maybe that is what they should do. What if they made it so caster DPS actually ran out of mana and had to wand for a significant portion of the fight to get back mana, as an example?

    Personally, I think the lion’s share of the problem is that of the three roles, DPS has the most visible, measurable form of personal progression. And personal progression is fun! It’s a big reason why people play RPGs of most stripes..hell play games of most stripes. The support roles of tanking/healing don’t have nearly as much personal progression, and that turns away a lot of people. And I don’t think you can fix this. Well, maybe you can. What if for tanks if we changed Vengeance or added new mechanics that turned mitigated damage into AP, and balanced it so tanks did competitive damage to DPS players? I think that would make tanking more interesting for a lot of players.

  8. 12 Backer
    April 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I think the bribe idea is decent. I think that a better bribe would be to do some sort of BOA queue coupon. If you complete an LFD as a tank, you get a coupon to get to the front of the line (or close to it) on your DPS alt. I think that’d be a great way to get a lot of high end tanks into the system.

  9. 14 Bristal
    April 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I love that idea. But it would be better if the tank selected the best DPS in a run (whether by DPS, overall competence, or even just politness), and that player would get the insta-queue ticket.

    Not only does the golden ticket put you in front of the queue, it guarantees that if any other ticket using DPS are in the queue, you will get them. What I want is a convergence of mature, respectful, helpful, and skillful players. I’d be happy to wait 20 minutes for other golden ticket players to appear.

    Gives the tank a bit of real power. Gives DPS a social reward for playing well and respectfully.

    Possible downside is that it could result in some serious tankasaurus asshattery.

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