Call to Arms: the first week

Patch 4.1 lured me back into running dungeons at max level again, partly to see how the new Call to Arms feature was working out, partly to see what else was new. (For example it took me several runs to figure out what that weird fire animation was that I kept seeing on the floor, until I finally realised that it's the new animation for hunters' explosive trap. Personally I think that it's hideous, but maybe it will grow on me.) On top of that, patch days tend to encourage me to get back to working on goals that I've been neglecting, such as gearing up my umpteenth alt, which is similar to the way people feel inspired to make resolutions on New Year's Day I suppose.

Call to Arms isn't actually active on my realm a lot of the time, which shouldn't have come as a surprise to me in hindsight. I mentioned before that I could never really relate to the complaints about forty minute dps queues, as my own were usually barely half of that, even before Call to Arms. From what I can tell, the "magic number" where the system considers the wait time too long and will activate CtA is around ten minutes, and with many tanks returning for the same reasons I mentioned above, queue times are often shorter than that anyway.

Of course the result of this is that I'm checking the dungeon finder window continually, while refusing to queue up as tank or healer while CtA isn't active. I reckon that a lot of people are doing the same, as there'll be no CtA indicator for ages, and then it suddenly appears for both tanks and healers at once. It's a bit like trying to find the best deal while going shopping. Yes, I do want a suitcase my valour points, but next week in an hour or so there'll be a special sale Call to Arms where I'll also get an umbrella a goodie bag for free, so I'll wait until then. It's a funny psychological trick that works because people like to get free stuff even if they don't need it. I've collected about half a dozen satchels of exotic mysteries so far, and not one of them contained anything but rubbish, i.e. nothing but a little gold and a single gem or two to three cheap potions. /yawn.

I was a bit wary of taking up tanking again, but so far my runs have been surprisingly pleasant. CC has definitely gone the way of the dodo by now, but in a way I'm glad. I do prefer using it, but as I said last time I ranted about tanking frustrations back in February, it's no fun when "should we use crowd control or not" is just another thing for the party to fight over. So if everyone would rather AoE everything I'll consider that fairly boring, but after the last couple of months I'm just glad that everyone is on the same page again. I do feel somewhat bad for the healers - my paladin is still on the lower end of the heroic gear curve, and when I AoE-tanked heroic Lost City of the Tol'vir today, I was rotating through my tanking cooldowns non-stop as I anxiously watched my character hovering on the verge of death on pretty much every single pull. I expected the healer to complain about my squishiness or ask for CC at any moment, but he seemed happy and his mana bar barely even appeared to move. (Actually, the latter might explain why I was constantly hovering on the verge of death...)

On the whole, everyone in the runs I've had has been pretty bearable. Yes, I've had a guy in full tier eleven roll need on blue dungeon drops. Yes, I've had a tank in full pvp gear. I've had people drop group mid-pull if things weren't going their way, and I've had others start insulting the group the moment something went wrong. I've seen people run right past bosses in order to "save time", just to go AFK for five minutes afterwards. I've also had people who declared that they wanted a fast run, but then didn't even know which way to go (which I found rather hilarious). But I've also had players who joked around and were patient when my screen froze or when I missed the jelly-vator in Throne of the Tides, making else everyone wait. (There seems to be a new graphical glitch where it becomes invisible when it's at the bottom, which made me think that it was still at the top.)

I actually found myself wondering whether any of the 4.1 changes might be contributing to people behaving better, and I do think that the valour cap from dungeons being a weekly thing instead of daily might be a positive influence. If you're not in the mood for a dungeon, there's no pressure to get it done now or else - instead you can run several instances in a row when you actually feel like it and still get the same reward. And well, fewer people running dungeons when they don't actually want to be there can only be a good thing.

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