It was announced at BlizzCon that Blizzard would be launching a revamped raid finding system, potentially in response to oQueue's huge popularity in finding groups for Flex and for things like the Celestial bosses required for the Legendary cloak. Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has posted today
about the first tentative steps towards realizing this goal
launch of said group finder
, namely a rework of the existing Raid Finding tool. The one you haven't ever used. His full posts are, as ever, after the break.
At first, it will just work for Flex raids and World Bosses, meaning that it won't oust oQueue from the game, but it seems likely that Blizzard will expand this technology to the new raids and perhaps even to PvP in 6.0. Right now, on the PTR, there have not been a lot of changes to the existing system. It's still really hard to find -- open up your social pane, then go over to raid, then go to Other Raids, then select the raids you want to do. Celestials, Ordos and Flex are all cross-realm, but the others are not.
Hit the break for Ion's full posts.
Did you know that WoW includes a raid browser to assist with finding or forming groups? Don't worry, neither do most people. But it exists, and as we work towards revamping and expanding this feature for Warlords, we figured that we could also improve the usefulness of the existing functionality in the short-term.
If you click the "Other Raids" button in the social Raid tab, you'll see a list of raids. For 5.4.2, we've added two new categories, Mists of Pandaria Raid (Flex) and World Boss, which are specially enabled to function cross-realm. If you're looking to join a group for these activities, you can check off the appropriate fields and click "List My Name" below, and you'll put yourself into the LFG pool for those activities. For these specific activities, this pool will function cross-realm.
If you click over to the "Browse" tab on the right side of the screen, and select one of these activities from the drop-down list, you'll see a list of players across all servers who are looking to join groups for that activity.
Please give this a try on the PTR, and report any feedback or bugs you encounter. Thanks!
The biggest problem I anticipate for this updated system is still people. It needs people to use it to be successful, and therefore people need to be able to find it, to know it's there, and to use it. For some reason it wouldn't let me queue for flex raids on the PTR, but it did let me queue for Ordos and Celestials. Alas, at the time of writing, I'm the only person in the queue, and have been for some time. I can only assume that either nobody else knows it's there, or that nobody else can find it.
The browse feature is nice, allowing you to browse all raids or to browse groups that are looking for the specific content you're interested in. This functionality, after further development, will hopefully mirror that of oQueue by adding in even more different types of content. If oQueue's success is anything to go by, this could be a really great feature for the game.
But the problem it has is as Watcher says -- nobody knows it's there. They're building a new system to replace something wildly popular. But they're building it as an extension to an old system, that's been there for years. And nobody knows it exists. If Blizzard wants
their upcoming Group Finder to take over from oQueue in 6.0, they'll need to up its visibility.
Blizzard has been quick to respond
that this is just a tiny step towards the Group Finder feature mentioned at BlizzCon. Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has this to add:
I just want to reiterate that this is in no way our final implementation of the "Group Finder" feature discussed at Blizzcon. That's coming in Warlords. This is a small scrap of convenience using our existing features that we could fit into 5.4.2, and while we have no expectation that this will completely satisfy players' desire for cross-server group-finding tools, we hope that it may help a bit in the meantime.