Much like the RealID fiasco, the tinterwebz have been ablaze with commentary about Blizzard's new idea for LFD, "Call to Arms". If you haven't read it, the basic idea come 4.1 is to reward tanks with a goodie bag at the end of a heroic instance that they queued for, alone, using LFD. Said goodie bag will contain the following:
- Some more gold.
- A high chance at a gem or flask.
- A medium chance at a non-combat pet.
- A small chance at a dungeon ground mount (Deathcharger, Ravenlord, White Hawkstrider).
I'm ignoring the wording of the announcement which fudges around the "least represented role" because I think everyone knows that it's designed to get more tanks in the queue. The question, however, isn't simply a case of whether it'll work or not. The real question comes in two parts.
Will it make more tanks queue Versus will it improve the LFD tool?
The reason I've used the word versus is specifically because the respective answers are "yes" and "no". What's worrying, however, is that the questions are mutually inclusive; this idea is going to encourage inexperienced or bad tanks that will exponentially worsen the LFD experience for everyone else. This possibility has already been eloquently discussed by Kadomi and I won't comment further on it here.
Another point that's worth being borne in mind has also been made by the Aggronaut. Basically, it discusses what the LFD tool was designed to do and what the result was. Your humble author shall provide a resume for you because he's kind. The LFD tool was designed to allow people to farm their Frost emblems as quickly as possible, in content that wasn't remotely challenging. It did so at a point in the content where you were almost guaranteed to get an overgeared tank or healer that could cover for just about any mistake you made. In short, timing and intent worked in tandem to provide a tool that was very successful in what it was designed for. Communication was utterly unnecessary as every pull mirrored the last.
Fast forward to a world where very few people are going to be overgeared, accompanied by content that doesn't allow tanks or healers to make up for the mistakes of others. The icing on this particular bun is a significant percentage of kleptomaniacal players in the queue who are impatient, difficult, obnoxious and rude.
I've mentioned in previous writing the logistical reason tanks aren't queuing; Valor Points have less value than Frost Emblems did. You cannot purchase better gear than you can get in raids (which 10 man tanks used to get), while reputation grinds also yield high gearing rewards. We can then include crafted epics, a liberal sprinkling of BoE's found on the auction house and the ludicrous cap on the Justice Point total that your Valor Points are destined to become. Oh, yeah - I almost forgot the raiders who hit their weekly cap through tier 11 success and, therefore, don't queue, either.
The problem as I see it, therefore, is two fold: a bad community and bad value of rewards. What is most frustrating is that Blizzard can attend to both of these issues, yet choose to address neither. Instead, they haphazardly try to deal with the effects instead of the causes in a particularly adept impersonation of Great British government. To those of rational mind, the causes are obvious - and that's what makes the proposed solution so utterly baffling.
Incidentally, it's about to get a whole lot worse in 4.1 for two reasons.
1) Tanks will do their seven heroics in a burst with guild/friends, making them less numerous at any other given time.
2) The tanks that DO simplify current heroic dungeons through gear may well solely queue for Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub.
So to be clear; Blizzard have identified a tank shortage in the LFD queue. They then try to alleviate the problem by encouraging tanks to queue with baubles, but miss the fact that their solution is actually going to increase the reason people don't queue (are impatient DPS players really expected to improve their attitude with a dose of crap tanks?). In the next step, they make the problem worse by encouraging the tanks they want to queue to just stack their dungeons over a weekend with guildies and friends. All of this is laden with a backdrop of insignificant reward for potentially significant hassle.
My last complaint is a personal one - namely, I'd like to know why I'm being ostracised for attempting to build up my server community. When I queue for a heroic, I always ask to pick people up in trade before hitting the button. It's rare when I don't get a full group and they're usually more pleasant as there are repercussions to being an absolute dolt while in the instance. So why am I NOT going to get the spurious reward for encouraging the server cooperation that the game is crying out for? And further, why are the excellent healers who constantly save a bad tank not up for a reward? Why are the excellent DPS who use all their tricks to cover several bad pulls not up for a reward? Yes, there are some horrible players out there; but not doffing your hat to those who do try to make the LFD a better place for everyone, regardless of role, is as big a slap in the face as you can give them.
Confused? You should be. After all, the direction from the top is hopelessly confused. And unfortunately, it's yet another example of the muddled thinking from a development team that is clearly floundering in the absence of those who've departed to work on project Titan.
The current team had better start actually listening to their players, or they'll end up with no players at all.