Thursday, February 17, 2011

Will Hotfix Bring Patience?

If you have been a frequent visitor of the Looking For Group LFG system, then you may be familiar with the above image. Sure, normally little dead bird is smaller on your screen, but the 30 minute debuff is something that is very hard to ignore. Now that Blizzard has taken the big revision pen to Cataclysm and fixed everything for the time being, some minor hotfixes have trickled through to further correct issues remaining with the content currently available. Although one set of hotfixes this week dealt primarily with healer balance (discussed below), the more interesting change was for the LFG system. Here's the rundown:

1. Players who are outside a dungeon for more than a few minutes are now immediately able to be kicked.
2. If queuing as a group with a tank or healer, and the tank or healer drops group (or is kicked) soon after joining, those that queued with them will also be removed from the dungeon.
3. If three or more players group queue, it will require an additional vote for them to kick anyone they did not group queue with.
4. If a group queue of 4 players kicks the one person that they did not group queue with, they will each receive a more severe penalty to their ability to initiate future kicks.
5. If someone initiates a vote kick for someone they group queued with, they will not incur a penalty to their ability to initiate future kicks.

On the whole, Blizzard is hoping these changes will reduce the annoying behaviors that currently plague the LFG system.  Although the biggest problems are encountered by DPS players that must wait 30-60 minutes per queue, healers also lose significant time on some servers re-queuing and waiting for tanks. There's nothing more annoying than what I currently call "the one wipe LFG tank."  You know, the tank that is too good to wipe more than once with you because he can immediately find another group. 

If you jump into a heroic LFG queue and are not ready to struggle a bit, you are missing the entire point of why Blizzard made this game challenging and fun. Although the challenge level is dropping significantly as players become more geared and dungeons receive their 4.0.6 fixes, heroics are still not at the facerolling point.  Healers and DPS and tanks must do their jobs and do it reasonably well to pass through the 5-man content.  And if there's one thing LFG players seem to's P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.

So will these changes make a difference? Number two makes me worry a slight bit.  Every once in a while, my real life will have an emergency within the first five minutes of starting a LFG group with a couple of guild members.  Although in AIE I am usually with 4 other guild members, in The Illuminati that is simply not the case. So since I always heal, now I must feel even worse if real life kicks me out.  Despite this minor and rare possible annoyance for me, this will possibly cut down on the drama king/queen "one wipe LFG tanks" and "one wipe LFG healers". However, in my experience, the best tanks always queue with their guild members and having a guild member makes them way more patient. So this new rule probably will not make much of a difference.

Numbers three and four are changes that are likely overdue. Nobody seems to know for sure the exact formula for the penalty inflicted that prevents you from chain kicking group members, but it is clearly increases with that behavior.  I have only been kicked a couple of times since LFG entered the game over a year ago, but both times it was hugely annoying. The one time in Cataclysm it was when a group refused to use CC and just expected their rent a healer to be overgeared enough to heal through the damage.  That's not how Cataclysm was designed, and so they probably kicked numerous healers that night. This needs to be nipped in the bud, and hopefully this will help.

Number one does not make much sense, as I believe that the wait time for a disconnected player is only 10 minutes already.  So that change is pretty meaningless.  As is the number five.  I suppose in the scenario I laid out above I could get my guild mate to kick me out and nobody would be worse for wear.  Although here's a paradox...if I get kicked in the first five minutes of the dungeon by a guild mate, do they automatically kick themselves too? Well at least there would be no penalty, except for a requeue.  Which is probably a worse penalty than the kick initiation penalty.  Go figure.

Pro tip: you need to have way more patience if you are running into that penalty.

For the healer changes, the Patch 4.0.6 changes did not quite do the trick so one week later, restoration shamans are getting a 25% bonus to healing effects from Purification instead of 10%.  Meanwhile, discipline priests were shield spamming too much with the better Power Word Shield and so the mana cost is up nearly 40%.  Kudos to healing shamans as this extra buff should bring them back in line with the other three healing classes.  It is also comforting to know that Blizzard wants all four healing classes to be truly viable.  I also think they are making interesting changes which will keep priest heads spinning as we try to catch up with whether we should be casting PWS, Renew, or Heal to any great extent.  So far, I believe after Patch 4.0.6 Blizzard has been incredibly fair to the healing classes, if nothing else.


Sorry for my delay, but I have good reason. A deer came into the picture and decided that my car is not going to commute me to work anymore. 

So car shopping the week before our second baby arrived, and then my recent sleep deprived state while trying to stay caught up at work.  Yeah real life.  But I hope to see some more questions from the readers and I will get back on the writing horse now that I'm in game more.  Well at least fishing with baby on board if nothing else!  Cheers!

And here's my beautiful daughters...woot!


  1. I think #1 is aimed at people who are online but refuse to actually join the group in the instance. Not disconnected people.

    Maybe they "just need to finish this one quest", or they throw a hissy fit and decide to punish the group by leaving the instance and not the group, so the group can't get someone new.

  2. That's a weird phenomenon. Hopefully number 1 is aimed at stopping that kind of behavior as well.

  3. Congrats on your second daughter! I have a 5yo daughter.