Random Thoughts on LFG System
I like the idea of the LFG system holding players accountable for their own actions. It’s had a few minor upgrades to help it towards this function, but it isn’t enough in my opinion. People can still basically behave however they want, with zero accountability. Whether they feel like taking an item they can’t use, pulling mobs at random, or purposefully wiping the group, there is very little outside of the vote-kick system to discipline their behavior.
I can think of at least a thousand different situations in which one player wrecked a group, and nothing could be done about it. Players who choose to be stupid five second after a group has formed cannot be kicked. You’re stuck with them until fifteen minutes have passed, and in that fifteen minutes they’ve effectively destroyed your faith in humanity. I understand why the fifteen minute rule was implemented. Assholes who vote to kick players who don’t have a 10k gear score are just as bad as assholes who pull and wipe the group. But the fifteen minute rule is, in my opinion, no more of a solution than it is a problem.
Exhibit A. A random Slave Pens group. We zone in. One guy says “I’m gonna wipe the group k?” and proceeds to run ahead and pull all of the makrura and the two groups of naga slave drivers in the first room. We hadn’t even buffed yet. Luckily no one was stupid enough to try to follow or save his ass, because he died on the other side of the room and the mobs reset. We tried to vote kick, only to be met with the fifteen minute rule. We we extremely fortunate that this idiot dropped group about a minute later – presumably when he couldn’t find his way back to the instance, as he never did resurrect himself.
But what if he had? What if we’d been stuck with this sorry excuse of a griefer for the next fifteen minutes? The only solutions I can think of are to either disband the group entirely (“sorry guys, it’s not with the trouble”) or report him to a GM and attempt to make the best out of a wipe fest waiting to happen. Neither are solutions I find to be acceptable. The problem: Truly bad players CANNOT be removed from a group until fifteen minutes have passed.
How did that make it past all of Blizzard’s collective common sense and survive to be implemented? It’s great that gear-obsessed freaks cannot kick lesser geared players off the bat, but what about the rest of the vote-kicks, the ones that deal with players who are truly out to ruin our fun? It’s fairly distressing to know we are at the mercy of some idiot for fifteen minutes.
Also distressing is how few people out there will actually man up and vote kick players who are intent upon behaving poorly. I don’t care if Blizzard is tracking how many times I am involved in a vote kick. I will gladly take another tally mark by my name in order to rid myself of grief in a random group. That said, I’m not a compulsive vote-kicker. I usually try to solve the problem verbally by asking why a player is doing something and then explaining why it shouldn’t be done. I have found this doesn’t work as well as it should. Some people are just new and don’t understand that generally you don’t roll need on loot you can’t wear or that generally the tank pulls, not the mage. And sometimes these people are apologetic and cease the offending behavior. Great! But what about the people who shove a wasp’s nest up their rear and refuse to listen to anyone’s reasoning, who keep doing what they’re doing and giving the rest of the group a giant middle finger? I opt for a vote-kick. I contend that there is never a reason to be a jackass to people in a game. If your life is that pathetic, you are better off finding a 6′ by 2′ wooden box and crawling inside.
People would rather “just get through” a group that fix it. And if the offending player is a tank, all bets are off. No one wants to wait twenty minutes to replace a kicked tank. They’d rather just slog through the rest of the instance and pray the idiot doesn’t ninja the loot they want. I’m not content with that solution. It takes far too long to find a new tank or healer in the LFG system. When a group with a dungeon in progress has to replace a player, they should be moved to the front of the queue. Maybe they are already, but the wait times suggest they go to the back like everyone else.
What about people who queue as a tank or healer just to avoid the wait time? Exhibit B. Another random Slave Pens group. We zone in. Death Knight tank (*collective sigh*). Pulls the first makrura group and then says “can someone else tank?” The retribution paladin hesitantly suggests he will try. I couldn’t help but ask why he would queue as a tank and then refuse to tank, even though I already knew the answer. His response: “im srry”. Couldn’t vote-kick this loser in order to find a real tank because, of course, there is a fifteen minute rule. So the retribution paladin (brave little toaster, he was) put on his biggest set of balls and took us through the dungeon. He had no tanking gear. I was skeptical. He did just fine. Idiot Death Knight non-tank kept death gripping. I vowed that if we wiped just once, for any reason, I would vote-kick. I was a little depressed when we didn’t wipe.
There needs to be a “replace” feature in the LFG system. If a player is not performing their role AT ALL, you can choose to replace them. It doesn’t remove them from the group. It plops you in the front of the queue and when it finds a suitable person to replace your idiot with, it swaps them. Viola. Idiot is gone, new person takes their place. Replacing a player shouldn’t be a mark against the players who initiated it. It should be a mark against the person who was replaced. Somewhere in the data catacombs of Blizzard, it should put a little flag next to the player who was deemed piss-poor at their job.
There needs to be a way for players to proactively bench other players who are truly horrid. Players who simply cannot interact appropriately with anyone, players who cannot perform their selected role, players who exist only to cause problems for others. I would like to see the LFG system take a bit more control of the situation. Say a player is vote-kicked once, for any reason. They receive a mark against them. This mark has a duration of…I don’t know, for argument’s sake let’s say about 5 hours. The player is not effected by the mark unless they receive another. If, after five hours, they have not been vote-kicked again, the mark runs out and nothing happens. However, if they are kicked from another group during that five hours, another mark is applied and the duration is refreshed. Now things start to heat up. The marks stack up to (again, for the sake of argument) five stacks. At two stacks the player has a longer queue time (which may discourage him from queuing). At three stacks, his queue time increases. At four, he may eventually find a group but he cannot roll on loot of any kind. At five stacks, he is temporarily banned from using the LFG feature and may not zone in to dungeons of any kind. This lasts, let’s say…24 hours.
That isn’t saying that is something that should be implemented; my argument is that something should be. Players who behave poorly should be punished. They should be given a chance to shape up, or they should be removed from the rest of us who play well with others. Right now, there is very little incentive for idiots to play fair. So what if they are kicked from their group? They still won the roll on that item they can’t use, and their queue time is barely effected anyway.
On the topic of queue times, I would love to see something done about them. I understand completely why they are shorter for tanks and healers (rarer) and much longer for damage dealing players (much more common) but that doesn’t mean I like it. I enjoy a seconds-long queue on my tank and healer characters, but I languish in 30+ minute queues on anyone else. To that end I usually level my characters as tanks or healers, which is nice and stuff but it gets old fast. I like variety. I want to tank something, then hop over to another character and blast it to death with fire. Then hop over again and heal something. I would like to see some way of evening out queue times. I have no idea how that could be accomplished.
First off, no one wants to tank or heal. There are a few nut jobs out there, like me, who love to heal and tank and wouldn’t have it any other way. But the vast majority don’t want to have the weight of the group on their shoulders. I don’t blame them. The second something goes wrong, the tank or the healer get blamed. Usually one by the other. And as soon as they start fighting, the group falls apart and someone leaves and then they’re stuck in an infinite queue all over again. Few people want to be the tank and have the entire group watching their every move and have to contend with DPS who can’t control their aggro and hunters who won’t turn off pet growl and Death Knights who death grip away from them and healers who don’t understand that standing around doing nothing is a problem. And few people want to be the one having to frantically bash their keyboards in hopes that the rapidly dropping health bars will somehow refill, begging the squishy mage not to attempt to tank again, or stubbornly contending that a wayward pet is not their responsibility. It’s not everyone’s idea of fun, and I get that. The problem, however, is that fewer tanks and healers creates longer queue times for everyone else. I’m hoping that, with copious amounts of changes to both class dynamics and the earlier onset of dual spec, this situation will change come Cataclysm.
Finally, as an addendum to the excessive queue times any DPS must face, I would love to see some sort of grace period should you by chance disconnect or accidentally (somehow) leave the queue. I have all but given up on leveling my 70+ DPS characters because lately my internet has been acting like a strung out junkie on the fritz. I spend 30 minutes in the queue, I can see my group is almost ready, and then…I disconnect. It’s a cry-my-eyes-out moment when I just put my head down on the keys and sigh. Eventually I log back in and start the whole thing over again. I would like to see a bit of forgiveness here. Perhaps if you leave the queue, for any reason, you have one minute to get your butt back in line and save your spot. Sixty seconds is more than enough time for a disconnected player to dive back online and skid back into the queue. It would be a welcome addition for DPS trying to level via the dungeon finder, which gets less and less viable the higher level you get. You can spend 30 minutes in the queue and hope you can complete a dungeon, or you can spend 30 minutes of solid questing and get double the experience you would in a random dungeon.
Over all, I think the frequency of inadequate (to put it mildly) players needs to be addressed. A vote-kick needs to actually mean something. Players who are repeat offenders need to be punished somehow. Whether it’s something mild, like a delay in the time they can re-queue, or something more dramatic such as outright banning them from the LFG system for a period of time, I feel something needs to be done.