Imagining the new raid finder

So many 4.3 news, so much to comment on... but I don't think I will talk about most of it. Some things I either don't have a very strong opinion on at the moment (such as the tanking changes) or I prefer to see how they play out in practice before raving about them too much (such as the transmogrification feature and void storage). However, there is one piece of news that immediately sent my mind reeling, and I'm surprised that it hasn't spurred more commentary so far: that Blizzard intends to include a raid finder akin to the dungeon finder in the next patch. Maybe everyone's brains just locked up in horror at the thought.

Here's how I imagine it will go:

First off, 25-mans will see a sudden revival. The main selling points of ten-mans are that you don't need to handle as many people and that it's easier to limit your group to your best friends. However, if the organisational part is handled by an automated system and you're going to group with nothing but strangers anyway, you might as well select the option that gives marginally more loot. Assuming that players of all roles will follow this logic to an equal extent, 25-mans should also have shorter queues, considering that the tanks to healers to damage dealers ratio is slightly more favourable in 25-mans.

Nonetheless, I expect queues to be an issue, more so than for five-mans. Or rather, I expect that they'll always be either fairly short (less than an hour, maybe even less than half an hour) or long enough to equal "not gonna happen". The reason for this is that due to the length of raids, people are a lot less likely to be interested in doing them at all times of day. If your faction just won Tol Barad and you want to do Baradin Hold, you'll get a group fairly quickly. (On a side note, if they do make it cross-server, which they probably will, how will it handle things like Baradin Hold? I assume that you'll only be able to queue while it's being held on your server.) Evenings in general are going to be popular as well. But if you queue up during anything but prime time, don't expect to get far.

Then comes the nitty gritty of the actual runs. Finally the system tells you that a group has been found! We all know how annoying it can be when you click your ready button in the dungeon finder and then slowly watch the group time out because one person was AFK. Now imagine this with ten or twenty-five people. Good luck not going mad while trying again and again!

Upon zoning in you'll probably discover that about half your healers are actually damage dealers. The problem of people signing up for a role that they don't actually intend to play just to get a faster queue is not new, but in five-mans it rarely turns out well for the deceiver because it's very obvious whether they are doing what they're supposed to do or not. But in a raid with six healers? I reckon that a lot of players will be willing to take their chances that nobody will notice.

If you do notice that someone has tried to "cheat" their way into the group, how is vote-kicking going to work in a raid? I imagine that getting ten to twenty-five people to agree on things is going to be quite hard.

Just like in the dungeon finder, I expect most people to zone in and not say a word. I can already picture tanks charging in with no consideration for the rest of the raid, just like they often do in five-mans... except that in a raid they'll end up dying that way, and then maybe drop group.

Most people will probably just stand around and wait for someone to tell them what to do, with maybe one or two going nuts with excitement about being in a raid with so many people, spamming chat, changing appearance and bouncing off the walls until they pull something - basically similar to what you see in the starting cave in Alterac Valley.

One or two experienced players are likely to speak up eventually and will try to get some sort of coordination going. People will ignore a lot of what is being said and maybe even go AFK. Just when the self-appointed leaders think that they're ready to pull, someone will drop group and need replacing. Eventually someone will start the fight and the entire raid will wipe horribly the moment the boss does his or her first special, as hardly anyone paid any attention to the strategy.

After the wipe, ninety percent of the raid will lie around on the floor, not bothering to release, while spamming the surviving mage or hunter with requests for a mass res. People will leave. New ones come in. Rinse and repeat for a while until the leader loses patience and the whole thing falls apart completely.

Cue lots of complaining on the forums about how raid finder groups are impossible, at which point the content will get nerfed like never before, because the guys at Blizzard are proud of their raid finder and want to make it a more enjoyable experience, and anyway, you clearly can't expect groups to talk to each other or try to coordinate through those complicated encounters!

Cynical, me? Maybe just a little.*

*Disclaimer: I don't think that a raid finder would be completely awful. For example I can see it being a nice convenience when it comes to running Baradin Hold, which many people do pug already anyway. However, generally raid content hasn't been designed for a team of random people who want to have as little interaction with each other as possible, so I foresee a lot of pain in the future if the devs once again try to fit a square peg into a round hole.


  1. I've been wondering about this myself. For one, the only way I can see it working is using the nerfed "old content" raids (currently T11, but during 4.3 we'll have T12 as well). They wanted to make those raids puggable, so it seems that this was the goal.

    Second, I imagine that the queuing system would be more similar to what's used in BGs. They don't wait for a full BG group to be assembled before dumping folks in, and as long as there's a gate to prevent entrance before the group is assembled, and the wait is not TOO long (again, similar to BGs), then it may be workable.

    It will be interesting to see how leadership works. I know in other random groups (5s, BGs) I don't pay attention to whoever the system picked as leader. I've seen enough times where that person had no qualifications, so just because their text is in a different color, what difference does that make if they don't know what they're doing?

    I suspect we'll fall back on "tank is leader" community agreement, which we've fallen away from a bit with the CC changes.

    It'll be interesting.

  2. In guess Blizzard thinks that there are some issues, maybe even challenges, ahead ;)

  3. The only natural result I see from this is that any raids available through the random raid finder will be nerfed to the ground.

  4. I suspect you may be right in some of those predictions. I doubt I'd join any raids that way except for maybe Baradin Hold (which I'm not yet convinced will even be included).

    What I would prefer to see (and can always hope will happen at the same time) is Real ID grouping for raids. Currently it only works for Heroics, and I'd love to see it for raids as well.

    Can you imagine an off-night where bloggers do an alt run? :P

    Or you can hop on and help a friend's guild out a night when they're low on people - even if you're on different realms!

    Yes, that's the feature that I'd like to see. Not the grouping with randoms. I'm tired of grouping with randoms.

  5. It would work quite well for raiding old content, like SSC or BT, and provide a mechanism for people that want to do that.

    What would be quite hilarious would be if Blizzard required the Achievement for it (link ache plox!). Which actually would make sense. Also, requiring a PvE iLvl, i.e. separate PvE and PvP iLvls. I wouldn't be so scared about it then.

    But yeah, most likely this will be terrible.

  6. I called this over a year ago, and I believe that this means that Blizz will also move in the direction of cross server raids.

    It's a natural outgrowth of cross server grouping courtesy of Real IDs, so the only area that won't have cross server grouping (yet) are BGs.

    Honestly, this might save pug raids for those who don't belong to large guilds or go solo.

    Or, imagine getting an L60 40-man AQ40 run. You could actually do that now with the LFR grouping.

  7. @Zaralynda: The problem is that "puggable by a group of people who are willing to at least put a minimum amount of effort in" and "puggable by a group of random strangers who just pressed a button to get into a group and might know nothing at all about raiding" are likely two very different things still.

    Your BG-like entrance idea sounds interesting, but somehow I can't see it happening because as I said I predict that queue times will fluctuate wildly, so it would be impossible for the system to predict when more players of the right role can be expected to join "soon".

    And I don't think that tanks will automatically become raid leaders, because raid leading isn't about how fast you can pull, it's about knowing the job everyone has to do on each boss fight, and a tank is no more likely to know the strategy for dps and healers than vice versa. It will depend on who's the most "hardcore" about it and already knows the fights in detail, regardless of their own role.

    @Saga: To be honest I wouldn't currently have a use for Real ID grouping for raids. Then again, I didn't have one for using it in five-mans either, but now that the feature is actually there I find myself looking for ways to use it.

    @BoxerDogs & Redbeard: I'm not sure how well it would work for older content. The dungeon finder revitalised low-level instances for all levels, but from my experience there only ever seem to be a handful of people queuing for any given level range, even across servers. I have a hard time imagining it ever finding 40 level 60s that want to do AQ for example.

    You could of course allow higher levels to join, but then you'd need some sort of algorithm to calculate how many people you really need, because waiting to take 40 level 85s to Molten Core would just be overkill.

  8. @Shintar: The skill levels will be a problem, and I don't see how they won't be without implementing ilevel or achievement requirements (and that still doesn't allow for things like enchants, etc, that tell us, as humans, that the person has put some effort into their character). But without the T11 nerfs, this would be impossible. The nerfs got it one step closer to possible.

    The entrance thing would depend on how it was implemented - if the queue didn't pop until there were 32 people available for a 25 m raid, then that may allow for some afks and such. Like you, I can't imagine waiting for 25 people to all hit the yes button simultaneously.

    And I didn't mean to imply that tanks would make the best raid leaders, but in the absence of clear leaders (person X assembled the pug, so he's the leader) I suspect that "tank = leader" is what the community will default to.

    Relatively recently, in a guild I used to be in, the raid leader no longer was raiding with his team. The team had to find a new raid leader... so the old raid leader (still a guild officer) appointed the team's main tank as the RL, even though he didn't want the job. When I asked the old raid leader why he appointed that person, he said that tanks make good leaders (he was a tank himself).

    There was a lot in that conversation that made me facepalm, but I've run into that particular attitude a lot.

  9. I don't know why it marked me as Zaralynda on the first comment and Mace and Staff (my blog name) on the second one. But I'm the same person.

  10. @Shintar - I realise that a lot of people probably wouldn't see a reason for Real ID grouping to include raids, but after my brother moved to another server I can see it being something useful for some people. I have a lot of alts, and if I don't raid on my main it would allow me to give them a hand on another character if they're a person short for their raids.

    Or friends in general on other servers, it just opens up so many possibilities. I don't know if they'll do this though, it's just something that I would personally quite enjoy :)

    Someone mentioned older raids for the raid finder, I think that might be a nice use of it. Especially now that quite a few people want to go back and get their old tier sets for the transmogrifier.

  11. I don't expect much of the raid finder. There are 100s if not 1000s of reasons I can see it become a failure and you touched on some in your post.

    Unless they plan to make it a random boss, no trash what so ever, and tone down the instant wipe mechanics of some of the fights when someone screws up, I do not see any random raid ever having a chance at success. Not even BH.

    The one boss randoms and boss only, is the only prayer I see these raids having. Not complete runs and no trash at all.

    In the end the biggest problem in 5 man pugs is the trash. I've suffered more pug deaths on the trash between the bear and the dragonhawk then I have on all bosses there combined. Raid trash makes them look like a cake walk.

    Single boss encounters only and just maybe, you might get one boss down every 20 times you try.

  12. If they limit it to just 10 man raids it won't be AS bad....think of it as double-sized heroics...cept you run 2 tanks, 3 healers, 5 dps usually :) no biggie

  13. @Zara: I suppose the difference is that I imagine leaders stepping up of their own accord. So it wouldn't be "You, tank, lead us!" but "Ok, I'm going to tell you how to do this because nobody else seems to have a clue!", which is about equally likely to come from any role.

    @Grumpy: I'm looking forward to reading your more detailed grumpy thoughts on this feature. :P

    @Anonymous: I don't think it would be that much better, considering that you'd still need coordination between tanks and healers who are just used to doing "their own thing" in heroics, and personal responsibility is very high in ten-mans.

  14. Probably few people knows, but there's a Raid Finder right now. I haven't tried it yet, but if you go to /raidinfo you can list your name in a kind of public list where raidleaders can pick you.
    I'd really like to be separated from the 5mans queue, so you can sign up for both. If you're doing a 5man, you'll be pulled from the raid list and vice-versa. Otherwise deciding either to get into a dungeon more or least fast or wait indefinitely for a raid that may never happen will kill this feature.

  15. @Kurnak: I know about that but I thought they had taken it out of the game since I couldn't find it anymore while I was looking for it last night. Anyway, I didn't think it was really that relevant to the discussion as it works like the old LFG tool and nobody ever used it for anything. (I remember trying it right after its introduction, but even at the best of times I never saw more than two or three people listing themselves as looking for raid.)

  16. I've read some speculation that the raid finder would be more of a tool to fill a few missing slots in an already started raid, as opposed to a full LFD style tool.

    I've been raiding 10 man since Cata came out and even in guild runs I end up with at least 1 pugged player in the raid 70%+ of the time.

    If they do plan to make this tool as a way to fill out an existing group, with random folks from any server, then it could potentially be very useful.

  17. "I'm going to tell you how to do this" equally likely to come from any role... and equally likely to be wrong, or several folks disagreeing (and then who decides?).

    As I said, it'll be interesting.

  18. I seem to remember seeing the word "puggable" in the Blue post, and also in the Blizz language regarding Baradin Hold.

    If their intent is to integrate a level that falls effectively below current tier and uses the long-standing VoA/BH model -- relatively simple Boss fight mechanics, comparably short fights and little to no trash -- I can see the whole thing working.

    In this case, no one is expecting to have folks using the Raidfinder to PuG Firelands (or, hell, Naxx)- Blizzard is intending it to be used to rapidly fill Raids specific to an intermediary "PuG" Tier.

  19. LOL...this is quite possibly the most depressing review I've read all week. what an idiotic idea to begin with. I just can't see anyone bothering with it tbh, but then there's no accounting for just how much easier Blizzard is yet to make WoW. maybe once they've added the complete auto-pilot option for tanks, healers and dps, the raid finder will be pure win!


  20. Before i start, i'd like to say this is my first post here. I've followed your sayings for a while from wow insider. And this mention of the raid finder made me want to write.

    @ Syl
    It may be true that she could be depressing, but you forgot that what she wrote was experiences of what she felt from 5-man PuGs, extended to raids.

    And saddly, i agree with her. But what i believe is that Blizzard has thinked about these before finally advance with the PuGraids.

    a) they advanced the engine to the point in which it, for example, identifies the spec the player has (which is showed on the talent choice tab even)
    b) leave it as it is, making players suffer through all this and give the players the desire of joining a guild for this change. And when ppl complain about it, they may say that the blame is from the community, which cheats and suffer the consequences, encouraging everyone with threads and notes to improve and such (blizzard did make a lot of these in the forums, at least in the EU ones).

    I know point b) is a bit unwise in some regards, but it's the one which i think it can happen. BLizzard can bend to a certain degree to lower his hand of help, and form there the player has to RAISE his own hand to get what he wants (i hope you understand this figure of speech).

    I just hope everything goes swell. I would want to finnally kill Nefarian, when my guild has excluded it in favor of firelands.

    Best wishes to all

    P.S.: sry for the long wall of text.

  21. Actually there is a way Blizzard could assign the raid leader that would make sense. After all, Blizzard knows every boss kill/achievement of every player in the raid it's creating. It knows everything about everyone's raiding history. It could easily concoct a rough numerical estimate (your Raidscore) of each player's knowledge of the instance and raiding in general. Then when it does the ready check, it asks the highest score player "Do you want to be raid leader?" and they get 100g or whatever bonus if they accept. If they decline the next highest gets offered, etc. So when the raids pops into the instance everyone will know that the raid leader may be OK.

  22. @Rodmin: Welcome, I'm always happy when people have something to add after reading. :) And long comments are perfectly okay. ;)

    @Richelieu: The main problem I see with anything like that is that they have no way of measuring whether a leader is actually doing his or her job, regardless of experience. Someone could just accept the gold and then not explain anything. Or they might do it badly. Or they might have experience in one role but have no clue about what other people have to do on a certain fight. There are so many problems with rewarding people for playing the leader, I just can't see it happening. (This is why the "dungeon guide" in five-mans is also a completely cosmetic role.)