Traveling the Multiverse

Aka Ironyca Stood in the Fire – gaming blog

The Random Dungeon System – an easy way to gear up? Or a place for random elitist acquaintances?

Do you recognize the situation? Which character do you identify with?

The Dungeon system can be a risky affair: it can turn out really great, you meet new friends and have a lot of fun. Or, you get discriminated against and harrassed – if not, perhaps people instantly left with the notion that your gearscore was too low.

No one ever said dungeons were meant for socialising, but as a new player to WoW, it’s probably the first place where you meet people, that you also have to cooperate with. The role of the dungeon in a game sense, was initially as a cooperative place where you could gear up and network as well.

Now, when taking the social element out of dungeons with the cross realm dungeon tool, we’re left with a strictly personal goal for joining one. All people want from dungeons these days, are gear and/or badges.

Is that a problem?

Not in itself, but perhaps the consequences can be, when people join with different objectives in mind, unable to adjust to the fact, that not everybody wants the same as them.

Players entering the random dungeon system seem to fall into three (very generalized) groups defined by their motives:

1 – Players who need gear from dungeons:

They love getting the badges too, and will be thankful for getting the bonus boss killed. They might consider dungeons a learning experience, where they can try out their characters role in a group setting, especially if they are new to the game, or new to their alts class. Some of them might not have done the dungeon before, some of them are seasoned players, who are briefly passing through this stage.

2 – Players who want both types of badges:

They will also mostly be thankful for getting the bonus boss killed, but will only want the loot for its material value. They have probably done the instance before, and know their character well. This type of player can be in the middle of a random-dungeon spree, and thus just wanting to get it over with. In that case, they might display a mindset similar to group 3.

3 – Players who only want frostbadges:

They either care about subpar badges or they don’t. They are likely to be raiders. What matters to them is getting the job done fast. The quicker and smoother, the better, doing this dungeon is a chore. Sometimes their standards for what quick and smooth is, makes them insensitive to people unidentical to them.

Below is a neat quote that I found, clearly from someone belonging to the elitist part of the 3rd group:

Obviously, it’s hard being well geared in the group! Oh the burden of lower geared people, how dare they enter a random dungeon!!

People tend to think of lower geared players as undergeared. In fact it’s often others being overgeared, and thus the misplaced ones, strutting through content designed for fresh level 80’s.

But who have priority to the heroic dungeons? Who are more entitled?

I hope the answer is no one! As Blizzard designed it, we were meant to share, and cooperate despite the differences.

It scares me, that the segregation between players is big enough, to induce this much annoyance. You often hear the terms “casual” and “elitist” thrown about, almost as if they were opposing factions. You’d almost think elitists was something tied to gear and end content, but they are everywhere.

The story below illustrates this fact. It’s a quote from the forum post Gear snobbery in pugs.

Group formed pretty fast and we got under way and things were going well. We’d got to the first fork and then the shammy healer announces to the group, “druid only has 266 GS, too low, vote to kick”. I thought he was making an ironic joke about how stupid gearscore is being used by people, this is Zul’Farrak and we’ve been clearing the trash steadily without incident! Before I have time to defend my positon I’m kicked.”

I check reount for overall damage done and I’m top! In fact I’m the only DPS above the tank, the dps shammy has only managed to do 66% of the damage I have and the hunter has done 50% of my damage!

So yet another idiot blindly using GS to kick in a pug when there was really no need. Are we meant to fully deck out all our alts in heirloom gear to be allowed to run dungeons these days?

This was Zul’farrak – not a heroic dungeon nor Icecrown. Zul’farrak is suitable for the 42-46 bracket. It shows how the places, where players are “allowed” to be beginners, are shrinking. The story can also be used to show the gearscore tyranny, which is prevalent on many realms. Here gearscore was also used as a sign of a bad player, despite the contrary evidence (a damage log), as reported by the author. This is by no means a rare occurance in heroic dungeons either!

What people tend to forget, is that to be in group 3, you can’t just skip the previous stages! Buying epics in the Auction House will bring you faster through, but you still have to go through them all.

What I’m really criticizing here, isn’t just the attitudes that exist within some elitist groups. It’s impossible to simply write a forum post (or blog entry) appealing to the grand amount of 3rd group people, who are acting elitist, in the hopes they will change their entitlement.

I’m not trying to excuse any elitist behaviour, when I say that I do believe the system, i.e. the Random Dungeon queue System, promotes this attitude.

When we have 3 groups of players with different objectives, crossing paths at different points in their learning curve/gear progression curve, who don’t know each other and will probably never meet again, a lot of players become selfish and view others as commodities instead of individuals.

I think the biggest hurdle lies with the fact, that not only are the dungeons random, so are the people in them. The cross-realm thing only makes people even more anonymous, and thus, we don’t feel we have to be as responsible or accountable. Leaving is done with a blink of an eye, out of sight out of mind – Next!

I think an arrangement that elevates accountablity (like reputation systems do) can be a solution, and I hope there’s a system coming in Cataclysm, that will treat dungeons as less of a grindy raceway, and promote less autopiloting in players alike, elitists and casuals.

Update (6th september 2010):

My solution would be to keep the random dungeon system, but to limit it to only count for individual servers, which means you don’t meet people from other servers in the random dungeon. I’m imagining that people would behave slightly better, cause this way an element of consequence is added – reputation!

Of course it would mean longer queue times, which no one is excited about, although I think that is just a necessary evil. Personally, I would prefer players from my own server since it is more in my interest to mingle with them, than players from other servers. Afterall in the long run, players from my server are the only people that posses potentials beyond an 8 min run. Maybe this is a natural outcome of the parallel universes that servers are.

Sources for quotes: “I like to leech the daily dungeon, thank you”, “Dungeon Finder function” and “Gear snobbery” in pugs.

5 comments on “The Random Dungeon System – an easy way to gear up? Or a place for random elitist acquaintances?

  1. smakendahed
    September 16, 2010

    Not to sound like an elitist jerk, but I do see the negative point in that having one really well geared character in a group of people starting out or who have just hit 80. The geared up person likely has a different goal (as you mentioned) than new 80s – the geared person is probably just looking for Frost badges. Also they may very well feel like they’re carrying the group and that sort of thing isn’t for everyone.

    I think the easy solution here is to add more flags available depending on where your character is as far as gear when you queue up:

    If you’re geared to the hilt and interested in grouping with new players, you could check the box that says, “I don’t mind grouping up with new 80s.” On the other hand if you’re a new 80 and don’t want to be “carried” through the dungeon by higher levels, you have a check box (instead of the one above) that says, “I want to group with newer 80s only.” Or something to that effect.

    Personally, I don’t care either way (the only way my Hunter could be better geared is by doing 25 man hard modes). If the group wants to do badges? Cool.

    I also don’t berate people as being “noobs” and I’m patient with new players. About the only way to set me off is to be an jerk to someone else in the group. Nothing pisses me off more – as was quoted above, every one was new to the game/dungeon/raid/class at some point.

  2. ironyca
    September 16, 2010

    Hey, thanks for reading (and commenting).
    It’s a long post, I wasn’t sure anyone was bothered enough to read it all, but someone made it through!

    I was actually considering to include a discussion about that check box thing you mention. The forum links I have my quotes from, have that suggestion coming up continously as well.

    As much as is sounds like an easy and simple solution, I’m not sure it would be a good thing.
    I think it would make evident who have priority over heroic dungeons: the over-geared people (group 3)
    If that was implemented, it would sound to me like we have to protect the over-geared players against lower-geared players. I would dislike the idea of people in group 1 to be regarded as second class players, whom we need to keep segregated cause they ruin it for over-geared people.
    For me, it’s either a system change or a general attitude change.

    I don’t think the random dungeon system will be changed for Cataclysm, it is a highly efficient system (even with mixed players!).
    What will happen though, is a reset of gear, and with that comes less elitism (I hope) which would be a nice change …for as long as it lasts.

  3. Livae
    December 24, 2010

    I think much of the rudeness in randoms does stem from the fact that it is random. You’ll never see these people again. You can act however you like and no one can really do anything. It’s like being rude to a waiter or cashier. You feel superior because you’re not working minimum wage. You know what you’re doing is wrong but no one will notice. You’d never act that way in front of a friend. If you’re in a random with a friend, and you see someone get picked on, you’d probably be the first to the rescue.

    I think it’s all about the pack mentality. Look at Trade Chat or Randoms: If a few guys are ganging up on the one “noob” what are you going to do? You’re going to go with the flow. If Trade Chat is especially unhelpful today and full of smartasses, go with it. Easier to join than to change.

  4. Livae
    December 24, 2010

    Also, if your plan was to limit random dungeons to each individual server the wait would be too long. It’d be like the Vanilla BGs.

  5. Pingback: The Tank Bribing and the Dungeon Finder Band Aids | Ironyca Stood in the Fire

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