Instances shouldn't just be mini games

Some days you have good pugs, some days you have bad pugs; some days you have pugs that make you angry, some days you have pugs that make you sad. Today I had one of the latter.

I queued up to tank normal Sethekk Halls on my death knight. Even though my death knight tanking involves a lot of flailing around as I still can't always decide on which ability would be best to use next, things went quite smoothly overall, until we got to the area with the trash mobs that fear... I died, the rest of the group got feared into all directions, it was a wipe.

The healer left the party and we queued up for a new one... just to get the exact same guy back a minute later. When someone asked him why he had left, his response was:

"Because we wiped lol, I dont have anything against u guys"

Another party member responded with "??", which reflected my own feelings pretty well. Does this guy also log off every time he dies while playing on his own? Or does he have a different version of the game where dying in an instance presents him with a pop-up that says: "Game over, press ok to start a new game?"

I mean, as much as I hate it, I can at least vaguely understand the idea that some people are so used to steamrolling everything that the slightest hitch makes them want to quit, but this guy seemed perfectly happy to continue with us after he had rejoined. He seriously made it sound as if quitting when you wipe was just some sort of compulsion that he simply had to follow. It made no sense to me.

We should have been able to continue at this point, but two of the dps had decided to port out of the instance and started questing instead. At first we waited for them, then I made a small pull that the three of us that remained should have been able to handle, but the healer had gone AFK without a word and we died again. Then we spent the next fifteen minutes or so mucking about as people left, disconnected, new players joined but the old ones couldn't be arsed to actually port back in and rejoin us... it was somewhat infuriating, considering that we could have continued so easily if everyone hadn't run off to do something else the instant we had that first wipe.

Finally we got a full group again, and everyone but our retribution paladin was back in. The pally told us that she was doing an escort quest and would rejoin us later. /groan. (I would have considered booting her, but I had already used up a kick to remove a DCed player from the group a few minutes earlier.) Nonetheless we managed to move on eventually and cleared the rest of the instance without any further problems.

Ikiss dropped his Crow Wing Reaper and my eyes got wide at the thought of filling all those sockets with Northrend gems, but the paladin rolled need on it as well and won. I politely asked why she had needed since she was using the heirloom axe anyway, to which she just replied with "I'm so dirty" and dropped group. I thought the average player was supposed to be way past high school age... /sigh.

Still, the thing that stuck with me the most was the massive grinding halt we came to halfway through the instance, when our first healer left "because we wiped lol" and everyone else immediately ran off to do something else, even though they stayed in the party. It really made me wonder if the dungeon finder wouldn't simply be a lot better without the teleportation feature. Keep everything else, just make it so that moving to the instance actually requires at least a little bit of brain power - even if you put some sort of summoning stone right inside the instance portal so you don't have to wait for every single person to make the run - and force players to actually move to the instance for real.

I bet that a lot of people wouldn't drop group over every broken nail if they actually had to invest at least a few minutes into moving their arse to the dungeon and if they knew that dumping the group would leave them sitting outside the entrance, possibly in the middle of nowhere, and not take them conveniently back to whatever else they were doing.

At the moment queuing up for an instance is sort of like playing a game of Bejeweled during your lunch break - one button press to join, one button press to leave, and it makes no difference to what you were doing before. I don't think a dungeon run should be like that though - it should be an activity in the world you're already playing in and affect that accordingly. Want to go to an instance? Well, then you should actually have to go to that instance. Doesn't that sound absurdly self-evident when put like that?

It would add a couple of minutes to each of our runs for sure, but I'm almost certain that we'd make that time up again with people being a little less likely to leave on a whim, so you wouldn't have to wait for replacements after every minor hiccup. (And maybe people wouldn't want to kick quite so easily either, knowing that they might have to go back to the summoning stone to get a replacement in. The horror!)


  1. I certainly get your point. I think being able to go in and out and in and out is fairly lame. However, I think that the teleport feature gives a huge advantage to getting groups going - particularly at low levels. At 80 sure, it really just takes a couple minutes to fly out to AN or HoS. A couple people are always willing to, everyone has the flight points (or flying) and summons come quickly.

    But if you're a wee bitty character, you just aren't going to go running off to Stockades or Ragefire or Deadmines or SFK if those aren't in zones reasonable for your race. After that, there's a lot of instances that are *way* out of the way. Imagine you're questing in Tristfal, and a queue pops up for Blackwater Deeps. *cringe* Fly back to Undercity, take the blimp to Org, ride out through Durotar, then the Barrens, and then Ashenvale. Urgh. And then all the way back afterward.

    My experiences trying to do low level dungeons before the finder frequently involved trying to coerce a couple people to go to the stone (because everyone was doing "one more quest" waiting for someone else to bother with the travel for them). It frequently took three times longer than it should have to get a group going once you found one. Easily twenty minutes for some instances. BWD, Uldaman, Mara, and BRD were a couple of the worst if I recall correctly.

    I've leveled up every character since it came out almost exclusively with the finder, but I doubt I'd bother to run more than the occasional instance if teleporting was not standard - it just wouldn't be efficient for the experience/time ratio.

  2. Well, one thing to keep in mind is that Blizzard said that in Cataclysm you won't be able to queue for an instance if you haven't discovered its entrance yet, so you'll have to go there at some point anyway. Assuming that this applies to all dungeons and not just the new ones, the person in your example would've already been at Zoram Strand at least once and would thus have the flight path, making the journey not all that terrible really.

  3. I'm guessing that trip still takes about seven minutes, between both flight paths and waiting for the zeppelin. And of course, having flight in classic WoW will only help those of a level to use it.

    I don't run across time wasters like a tank leaving group often enough to want to add 3-20 minutes to the beginning of every single instance. If we're more than fifteen minutes into the instance (and it wasn't just a dps that left) it's generally much faster to queue from scratch.

    I also think people are less likely to accept a queue for a dungeon in progress, on the assumption that is is more likely to have issues than a fresh run. I know I am unlikely to. Again, if I accept into a completely fail group, I have a miserable run with a lot of deaths, or leave and get locked out of the finder for a half hour...or I just decline and wait a few more minutes for a new run. In my experiences, it's rare that I don't regret accepting a dungeon in progress while leveling.

    I think this change would be particularly negative with how uppity tanks are. Imagine waiting twenty minutes in queue for a tank, and then having to wait another ten after everyone else has arrived before he's willing to accept his summons because he's "finishing a quest up". It also penalizes the people who drop what they are doing to go the instance, over the rude people who waste everyone's time. Right now, at least you have the option to go quest or farm and come back quickly.

    I fully agree there is a problem...I just don't think breaking the teleport feature would help at all, and I could see how it could make the average instance worse. I wish I had a better solution. Getting people to take instances more seriously and respect other players time more doesn't seem likely to happen as long as cross-realm queues are as anonymous and repercussion free as they are now.

  4. Hm, I've never noticed a difference in quality between runs in progress and new ones. Most of the time the bad players seem to be the ones you're replacing. But I can believe that some will decline if it's not a fresh run.

    You make valid points about the disadvantages of my suggestion, but I guess it comes down to priorities. I've been there with the waiting for someone to finish their last quest before the instance, but in hindsight I never found that as bad as what's happening with the dungeon finder right now.

    The cross-realm anonymity is part of the problem, one that I wouldn't know how to fix realistically, but what I'm thinking is that if you can't get people to respect other people's time, you could at least get them to respect their own time - and by making it so that constantly popping in and out of instances and not finishing them would be a waste of time, that kind of behaviour would be discouraged. True, it would also make people a little less likely to run dungeons as a whole, but I think they are incentivised too heavily at the moment anyway, so that would probably be a good thing.

    It also penalizes the people who drop what they are doing to go the instance, over the rude people who waste everyone's time.

    I thought I was showing in this post that this is exactly what happened to me with the current system too. I ran back into the dungeon, ready to continue, but others instantly popped out and started doing other stuff, making everyone wait and deterring new joiners. ("Why is half the group outside the instance? Major fail! /leave")

  5. I mentioned multiple times before the LFD patch that the LFD will destroy WoW. That's what happened. The LFD was the biggest change ever made to WoW and has already completely destroyed the old game. The LFD is WoWs NGE.

    Blizzard is probably making more money on the new game. The question is just if we are still able to enjoy the new game. But that won't matter to Blizzard.

  6. Hey Shintar
    I totally agree with you - and I think this goes into the many woes I have with WoW and other MMOs atm which was recently discussed in a fantastic post by Wolfshead Online, on EQ3 and the many ways current MMOs have lost their roots. I do however wonder if WoW is ever gonna turn things around again - it's so far down the 'casual fastfood' road now, I doubt it. =/

  7. Well, I haven't given up hope yet, considering that it currently looks as if they want to backpedal at least a little come Cataclysm - see things like the world mob buffs and having to discover instance entrances.

  8. A simple solution for the teleport: allow to get into the dungeon when you join, always (sometimes the teleport fails and you have to click the minimap icon to get in), but remove the teleport out. Only when you exit you're ported back to the place you were when you entered the instance.
    And if you leave the group you're immediately teleported to a random place of your faction, even if it's in Outlands or any of the Azeroth's continents. People will think twice if you're ported to, let's say, Un'Goro and then you find your HS is still on cooldown. Also make the /leave party (unless dungeon has been finished) to put your HS on cooldown... for an hour! *grin*

  9. I actually really value the "teleport out" option.

    Standing in a dungeon for half an hour doing nothing while we wait for a healer is really not my idea of fun.

    Similarly I actually really like the "minigame" style of the new LFD interface. Once I've run an instance once, that's exactly what it is to me. The first time, when I'm doing quests and things, then sure it's a part of the world which I'm exploring but once I've been there? It's something I'm doing to either farm gear, get XP, or work on my group-content skills.

    Making something more inconvenient is not a way to make people take it more seriously, it's a way to make people resentful. Frankly I'd rather people dropped group than did any of the other annoying, passive-aggressive things people do if they don't like the way a run is going.

  10. I agree that just standing around waiting isn't much fun, but the thing is, usually losing one person (even if it's the tank or healer) doesn't actually have to stop everything. You can continue more slowly and more carefully, with CC and kiting in the right places - I think that those exercises of thinking outside the box can be some of the most fun moments in the game. The problem is, with the current system people don't even want to try. If it isn't all easy mode, they are out.

    Making something more inconvenient is [...] a way to make people resentful.

    I agree, which is why I'm so annoyed with other people inconveniencing me with their impatience all the time. ;) I realise that a lot of people would simply be turned off by a change like I suggested, but as I said in a comment earlier I wouldn't consider that a bad thing either. At the moment so many people are running instances even though they clearly don't like them, just because it's easy and gives nice rewards... and as someone who's always loved running them just for the fun of it I find that highly detrimental to the experience. I really think that less would be more in this case.

  11. I agree that having to deal with people wandering out, especially as a lowbie (brb going to go train!), is irritating.

    Personally, I would like to make it so that people can always teleport TO the instance. However, you only get teleported BACK to where you were when you accepted the LFD invite if you complete the instance. Otherwise, if you get kicked or leave group before completing the instance, you get ported to the graveyard nearest the instance.

    Sure it will suck if your group falls apart, but hearthstones are on a 30m cooldown now so it's not like it would be THAT bad. Yes it penalizes someone who's good/friendly/active/performing if they get kicked or if the run is so bad that they refuse to stay, but that risk is well worth making there be actual consequences of getting kicked or quitting early other than getting an instant port back to wherever you started.