|The tank doan wanna go, Sarge!|
Yesterday Blizzard announced a plan to bribe players into tanking their horrible pugs to placate their hordes of disgruntled dpsers.
Blizzard said: In patch 4.1 we'll be introducing Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms, a new system intended to lower queue times. Call to Arms will automatically detect which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.
This system is meant to address the unacceptable queue times currently being experienced by those that queue for the DPS role at max level. The long queue times are, of course, caused by a very simple lack of representation in the Dungeon Finder by tanks, and to some extent healers. We don't feel the tanking and healing roles have any inherent issues that are causing the representation disparity, except that fulfilling them carries more responsibility. Understandably, players prefer to take on that responsibility in more organized situations than what the Dungeon Finder offers, but perhaps we can bribe them a little.
So why has LFD damaged grouping?
Dedicated tank player Kadomi explains it thus:
Kadomi said: I think we all agree that there’s a dearth of tanks using the LFD tool. I haven’t used it since WotLK, at least not on Kadomi. The reasons for this are manifold. I believe there are generally less tanks available than any other role, because it’s not as popular. The general consensus in most groups seems to be that tanks have to know every single pull, take responsibility for the run, and lead the group. Not everyone enjoys this, so there are less tanks. Add to this that LFD in WotLK created a new breed of player, who want to rush through instances at their own fast pace, and who are quick to point fingers at tank or healer after every wipe. Cataclysm heroics take practice, time and patience, and that’s all not factors you usually find in a PUG. In short, tanking can be extremely stressful.
I'm not personally opposed to single server LFD but I think cross server grouping has been very damaging to that other game and would be very damaging to Rift.
I've been having tremendous fun grouping in Rift, have made several friends, get regularly asked to come along to someone's groups and almost every pug I join has been noteable for friendliness and tenacity (we put up with about 12 wipes to finally get Expert Konstantin last night). In particular I've played with a number of tanks just breaking their teeth on T1 and T2 and the groups are really friendly, encouraging and supportive to the players who step up to this role. This is golden.
As for WoW, the big deal is moving the game from "I'm playing this because it's fun" to "I'm playing this because I get stuff." And them actually using the word "bribe".
Washing up isn't fun. I might have to bribe you with cookies to get you to help with the washing up.
Football is fun. I don't have to bribe you to have you running around a park chasing a ball.
If the content of your game is in transition from being like football towards being like doing the washing up then your game has issues. I think WoW is in decline and will continue to decline. I know they published very impressive numbers last year. That mainly rested on the rather tardy launch of Wrath of the Lich King in China, their biggest market. Secondarily on Cataclysm which a lot of people including myself resubbed to have a look at. Now that those two boosts have passed they're in trouble. Having to throw free bonus loot at people to do the more horrible elements of their game shows this.
It's really significant that their developers have used the word "bribe". Because it's an implied admission that their game isn't fun - because of cross server LFD