Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Updated LFG System and a New Passion

Well I believe the ranks of the AE Team may have to add an honorary new member. He is not technically a "healer," but he does have some wicked good self-healing via a little ability called Death Strike (+10% health every few seconds). He is also not a female toon, which is probably a plus as far as my metrosexuality goes. But nevertheless, he is a member of The Illuminati and he proudly wears the pink regalia of the AE Team. His name is Navarionae, my night elf death knight. There were a few factors that contributed to his shelving a few months ago. First, the Outland grind and being so overpowered bored me. Second, the tanking experience did not go well for me on a first try. Third, the new focus on the healer-based AE Team set my sights on goals that did not involve him.

Well a few factors also led to his revival in my sphere of interest. First, in the glow of hitting my long-term goal and getting the Violet Proto Drake on Ekaterinae, I decided it was useless for me to have over 12k gold on the team and nothing to spend it on. My DK was dual specced already, so I took the quick plunge and trained his flying. Yes I mean expert and artisan (epic). Second, I started trick or treating with the epic flight in Outland and was racking up the free experience. Then after dinging 72 on candy, I went back to the Tundra and started questing. Questing in Northrend with epic flight is absolutely amazing. So long story short, I ended up dinging 73 in short order...like 1 day after dinging 72. Now I'm committed financially and emotionally in this character again, and it's nice to have an ongoing concern higher than level 31. So welcome Navarionae to the team.

Between Navarionae becoming a new leveling concern and the heirlooms going BoA across factions down the road (covered a coupe entries ago), Biancae and Navarionae need heirlooms anyways. So I've started doing Champion's dailies again. I must say now that you can get 10 seals per day with all the new quests, the process is a lot more enjoyable than when it was citadel, jousting, and chillmaw all the time. So kudos to Blizzard for making that process easier for those of us who really hated it after a while.

So to the main topic of the day: The Patch 3.3 LFG system. The long-awaited cross realm Looking For Group is going into effect in a few weeks. You can earn extra gold just by utilizing the system, and hopefully the LFG will become like battlegrounds in that you will spend less time waiting to do what you want to do in the game. Here's the basics: you can join LFG with 1-4 people, but the more people you have grouped with you going in (the less random the group as a whole will be), the less bonus money you will get. So there's clearly some incentive to use the system. Furthermore, grouping via LFG will allow you to automatically teleport group members from anywhere in the world to the instance and back to where they left off afterwards. Therefore you can quest while you wait for a group and not miss a beat due to travel times. But if this is designed to lessen the time it takes to find a group for something, why do we need paid to use it? Well that's because there is a downside.

First downside is the grouping function. Now it will supposedly try to group you with other people around your gear level, which is fair. But the system will also put people more experienced with this particular dungeon with others who have less experience. Now while this is a good way to spread knowledge, it also prevents quick zerg runs of the daily where everyone knows what they are doing without any explanation. You also will have the opportunity to vote someone off the group if necessary. Sadly given the ninja possibilities, you may not have to vote the real problems out of the group before they cause the problems. Hopefully people will respect other players from other realms, but I'll believe it when I see it. So this improved risk of bad group experiences and less zerg possibilities will make the system less desirable than it could be. Hence paying us off.

On the whole, I like the new LFG system. Everything that goes cross-realm seems to be a decent idea, as it cleaned up the wait for battlegrounds and also cleared up the instance servers cannot be loaded problem. So perhaps good player conduct will be the rule of the day and everyone will profit from this system. One can hope. If nothing else, you should be waiting less to find people doing what you want to do. Less wasted time in game means more time for what you want to do in and out of game.

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