Last week, we talked about a few of the issues that are currently speculated for Blizzard's new Raid Finder tool that is being released within the next patch. Specifically, that discussion was about raid size and raid leadership; however, these are not the only concerns that people have. The Raid Finder is a rather charged topic within the community, for a wide variety of reasons, all depending on whom you ask.
This week, we will be wrapping up the discussion as best can be done as I attempt to address the remaining issues that people have put forward. Before we begin, let me say that, until this all goes live, we cannot accurately judge the success or failure of the tool. The Dungeon Finder, similarly, had a significant amount of backlash and down talk before it was released, yet most people now wouldn't play without it -- just to put everything in perspective.
First and foremost, there is the matter of communication that many players would have. A part of raiding is the use of some form of VoIP (voice over internet protocol) program such as Vent or Mumble. This is rather standard, yet many people still don't realize that Blizzard really does have a built-in voice chat system. To be fair, this isn't their fault at all; I often forget that it's even there, and I believe that I have used it all of one time since it was released. A majority of people are simply not used to this tool. Again, though, not entirely their fault. The problem is, I believe, limited only to groups, and while all those random dungeons that you run are technically able to use Blizzard's voice chat, none of them really do.
A majority of the problem lies with Blizzard's voice chat not being very good. It simply doesn't hold a candle to the likes of Vent or Mumble by any standard at all, which is fine, because it isn't Vent nor Mumble. It is entirely different. As bad as the utility might actually be, it does do its job rather well -- it allows for great, quick communication between players. I wouldn't use it for long explanations of a boss encounter or to be a chatty Cathy with a group of guild members, but for heat-of-the-moment communications, it does perfectly fine.
I feel that two things will likely come out of this. First, more players will start actively using Blizzard's voice chat, at least while they are in Raid Finder groups (though it may actually spill over into Dungeon Finder groups as well -- you never know). Second, Blizzard might actually spend the time to improve the system to the higher standard that players expect in their voice communications. Again, making use of this tool for the purpose of quick commands during an encounter is perfectly viable; you can do it and expect that people will make use of it in this manner. Yes, yes, I know, you don't want to hear the heavy breathing of some fail mage or the whiny screeches of some 10-year-old kid, but that's part of playing a social game in a social environment.
Trolls, ninjas, and you! Oh, my!
People are the internet aren't perfect angels -- hell, people in real life aren't all that great half of the time. There are a lot of jackasses out there, and you're bound to run across some (probably several) sooner or later. Unfortunately, there is simply nothing that you can really do to prevent this. Any social environment, especially one that is entirely online where traditional social backlash doesn't exist, is going to come with its trolls. Even here, we have to deal with trolls from time to time. Even My Little Pony Adventures (especially them) have to deal with trolls. Trolls are just a part of the internet. I blame all that violent TV and video games.
The solution here is rather simple: You kick them. While there are currently some issues with the kicking system as I understand it, minor technical corrections aren't really a reason to rank an entire system as a failure. Right now, it is merely a matter of the Raid Finder sharing the same kicking rules as the Dungeon Finder, but the intricacies don't translate. All that needs to be done is to create a new rule set of kicking players from groups for the Raid Finder; it's not that complicated. There isn't anything that you can do to prevent the trolling, but you can stop it once it starts.
The system of granting a need roll bonus to main-spec players for their specific items is a perfectly fine system. The need/greed roll system inherently prevents ninjas when used properly, and this additional alteration prevents players from taking off-spec items over main-spec roles. Yes, the expectation will probably be that everyone who can will roll need; I have no doubts about that, and I don't think that anyone else does either. That doesn't make the person winning said item a ninja.
People may also surprise you. I've done a large number of free-roll raids in my time. Players can often be rather considerate, even in a 25-man PUG, and I fail to see how the Raid Finder is all that different from spamming trade for strangers to play with.
A racketeering gig
The other loot issue is one of group collusion. We've heard so many reports of players saying that they're just going to run with a group where everyone is going to roll need on specific items whether they need it or not in order to give the item to a certain guild member or friend. To this I say, so what? Unfair to an individual person, perhaps -- but honestly, break down how far-reaching this would be.
Not all that many items are honestly shared by a large number of players; the exceptions might be cloth and DPS plate. Even then, how many players are you really going to put against for said item? The Raid Finder tool takes group composition into consideration. If a group of friends who are all cloth wearers join together, it's going to do it's best to avoid putting them in a raid full of other cloth wearers. That's how the system works. Even on the PTR, I've never really seen more than five or six cloth-wearing classes in a single raid; usually there are around two but no more than three of each.
Further, this issue isn't as wide spread as it may seem. "Real" raiding guilds -- those that will actually raid normal content -- won't be spending much of their time in the Raid Finder. There's generally no point in doing so. Even if they do, it would only be to fill out one, maybe two, items that they aren't seeing drop from their raids. Like many things, I would expect this to happen more frequently in the first few weeks or so, especially this time around, but after that it will virtually vanish.
Ready Check shares all the strategies and inside information you need to take your raiding to the next level. Be sure to look up our strategy guides to Cataclysm's 5-man instances, and for more healer-centric advice, visit Raid Rx.