Call to Arms

You may have missed the news, but in patch 4.1 Blizzard are implementing a system into the dungeon finder that will reward tanks and/or healers extra rewards for doing randoms anytime there aren’t enough of them queuing (read: always). The extra rewards come in the form of gold, flasks, and a small chance at non-combat pets and mounts, the latter being ones that can already drop in game in dungeons but are notoriously hard to get.

Now I don’t really like or dislike this system like other bloggers that I’ve been reading, but I do have some views on it in general (big shock) and I figure it might even be an interesting read, coming from the perspective of the exact person that they are trying to entice to use the dungeon finder more. Am I more likely to use the DF? Will the system be a smashing success? Will we ever find intelligent life in the universe? Find out answers to these questions and more, after the cut!

Now the first issue I have with Call to Arms is exactly what you can obtain from it. It’s an important distinction to make because, while no-one is going to say no to extra gold and flasks, the only reason people are going to be interested in this are the mounts (and possibly the pets, but to be honest most pet collectors don’t need the help of this system). As far as I’m concerned, I’d need to know exactly what I could obtain from this system because I already have a lot of rare mounts, and I’m not interested in going for ‘rare mounts’ when I might already have all of the ones that are available. If the two Cata dungeon mounts (that drop from Altairus and Slabhide) are included, then I’d at least consider using the system.

That said, the mounts would still only have a very low drop chance, and I still haven’t decided whether the chance at those mounts (without having to roll against 4 other people if they do drop) is worth putting up with 4 randoms in the dungeon finder. Of course, I know there are lots of people out there that have already decided that it IS worth it, and will be doing this. Whether the shorter DPS queues that result will be balanced by the people with no gear/skill queuing as tank, is something only time will tell, but I think in the short term offering these rewards will provide the results they were after.

The long term, however, is an entirely different matter, because Blizzard has a much larger problem on their hands. They nailed it on the head in their statement when announcing this feature, when they said they didn’t think there was anything fundamentally wrong with how the healer and tank roles are playing, so they didn’t need to dramatically change tanking in order to get more people doing it. Speaking as someone who tanked all of Wrath, and is now still tanking but mainly DPSing, I will attest to this. Tanking on my warrior is as fun as its always been, and while its certainly different to DPS, both are challenging and worth playing.

So why do I only tank my daily when I have a full guild run, and just take the 30 min queue when I’m by myself? Because tanking in the dungeon finder isn’t the same as tanking with friends, whereas DPS pretty much is. The tank is the person that leads the group, decides boss strats and routes through trash packs, and in the dungeon finder this feels like herding obnoxious cattle. While 4 out of 5 groups may be fine tanking, where everyone just accepts what you tell them to, the 1 group that isn’t like that is enough to put you off tanking for life. The dungeon finder was a system built on the principles of Wrath, where 5 mans were treated like daily quests and groups were supposed to just burn through everything as quick as possible. If you came across a total idiot in your group, you were done with them within minutes and you could get on with things, because in Wrath dungeons you only need about 2 players to know what they were doing to get through quickly.

Now times have changed, dungeons can take over an hour, and the obnoxious little git that won’t shut up is there too long to ignore. The vote to kick feature is fine, but everyone has a story about when they couldn’t kick someone for some reason or another, and we’ve seen that if the kick feature is strengthened, the douche bags we want gone from our groups just abuse it for lols. Cataclysm incentivised working together as a team to conquer content, and the dungeon finder just doesn’t build groups like that often enough for it to work, which means that the people who get shouted at the most, tanks (because 1 out of 3 bad DPS can be carried, whereas a bad tank can’t), will end up avoiding the DF.

Tanks that are still learning avoid the DF for the comfort of playing with friends, and good tanks stick with playing with friends for the comfort of knowing they’ll get through the dungeon with no problems, and without anyone shouting at them. In patch 4.1, tanks will join groups more often for a while, but eventually the exact same problems will lead them to stop queuing again, as they’ll either get the mount they wanted and stop, or have tried so many times with no results that they give up. The system is a temporary fix, and all I’m interested in seeing is how temporary it will be, before Blizzard has to think of something else to fix DPS queue times.

/end rant

P.S. To answer my last question before the cut, some bacteria has been found on Mars, which on the intelligence scale puts it just below DKs and a fair amount above Justin Beiber.

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