Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Improving heroic PUG quality

I know I'm probably late to the discussion, but since the Call to Arms was announced (and I think everybody agrees this won't solve anything) I've been thinking on how to improve the quality of PUGs in heroic mode without reverting to the Wrath style (AoE whacking). It's not easy since the problem is not located in the instance per se, but the players running it. Most people still steps into dungeons (even in normal mode) with the Wrath mentality: tank should grab half the instance and dps burn them down with AoE.
Let's face it: it's very easy for a frehsly dinged 85 to reach the 329 gear level required for the heroic modes. Using quest blues (ilevel 325 and 333), rep gear (333 and 346) and crafted gear (339, it's pvp gear) you can reach the magic number. I'm betting most of annoying players haven't set up foot in a normal dungeon before going for the heroics "for phat lewt". So here're some ideas that would help getting more prepared players:
- You can't run an heroic unless you've completed it in normal mode. This will teach you at least the basics of the instance: pulls, cc, strats... you can even further strengthen this requeriment: if you're healer you need to complete the normal one as healer, if you're tank you must complete it first as tank. This will avoid dps people signing up as tanks to speed up queues. And you can even restrict it more, by demanding running it a certain amount of times in normal mode so you really catch it. Lesser instances (like BRC or TotT) would require to be completed 3 times while higher ones (like GB) 5 times. This will also benefit players in the way of more chances for getting loot, more reputation and more justice points to spend.
- More craftable gear. This was proposed by Tobold. And I think it's only viable if you apply the previous rule, otherwise you'll have the same problem as now: clueless people in heroics. Also more gear means tanks would require less runs to gear up and queues would grow even more. So the idea is to provide key gear at certain ilevel without "trampling" the gear you can get in normal runs (that ranges from ilevel 308 to 333 iirc). Craftable gear should sit at ilevel 325 and be PVE gear, not the ilevel 339 PVP gear we can craft right now. While this helps PVP players not to die in a battleground when an opposing player sneezes, it causes a lot of trouble in PVE, since it helps people reach the 329 gear level easily and then you get players with a lot of stamina but lacking other key stats. While reforging can help a bit, you can't reforge resilience to turn it into something useful for your class.
- Change gear level requeriment and make it progressive. Why ask for 329 to run any heroic when a place like Grim Batol is harder than Black Rock Caverns? Start with 329 or even a bit more for the easiest ones and require 340 for the harder ones.
- Improve the LFD algorhythm so you get some dps class with proper cc. Running an heroic with limited cc may be doable, but not good for the healer's mental health.
These ideas wouldn't only help improve the quality of players in heroics. It would reduce queue times too since all the unprepared people queueing for heroics would be gone, forced to queue for normals. Yet still we need a way to motivate tanks into running PUGs, specially normal , otherwise we could have a tank shortage in normal queues only, as they progress into heroics. And tanking isn't that hard, as pointed out by several of you. The problem is leading, as Calli nailed it. And again, leading isn't difficult, but very frustrating if the people is not willing to follow you.


  1. Did you say attunements? You know thats a dirty word! :)

  2. Ive found myself thinking about having more flexible queue options in the dungeon finder. I know some tanks who would run pugs if they could be confident the group wasn't going to suck but of course everyone's definition of sucking varies.

    Currently though you either use it or you don't and have no options about suckiness. What if you could indicate the level of risk you're prepared to take and have the rewards scale appropriately?

    Really low risk you'd only get grouped with players who have a high lfg reputation (perhaps also an option to only queue with your own server). Higher risk you could get grouped with players with a lower reputation.

    lfg reputation could be calculated based on a range of factors including gear, number of successful runs, number of times kicked, role-specific measures (how much time stood in fire, average dps, average hps, dodge percentage, etc.)

    The benefits would be that it could encourage tanks/healers to run pugs thus increasing the number available. Another is that obviously there would be more tanks and healers prepared to take higher rated players so queue times for higher rated players would be shorter encouraging people to work better in pugs.

    Just a thought.

  3. @bobturkey:
    Well, attunement may be a dirty word, but let's face it... jumping into heroics after dinging 85 is just suicidal. While it's not the end of the world if you follow some simple rules (gtfof, follow marks, use cc, lend a hand to the healer, etc) it causes a lot of stress to the rest of the party. And having to run a place one or two times before going heroic isn't really an attunement (I'm an old dog and did the Molten Core and Black Temple ones back then, those were attunements!)

    About running pugs only with same server people it's something that I've seen proposed before. While it may help getting a better pug, queue times would go through the roof. But I like the idea of some sort of "lfg reputation" rating. As I pointed out, gear level it was never enough and created the wrong gearscore culture.

  4. That was rather my thinking. If you could vary your risk level you could go for more reward and faster queue times by taking more risk or you could deal with longer queue times and less reward by taking less risk.

    Server-only would be the minimum risk and, as you rightly say, would result in significantly longer queue times.