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5 ways to improve the Raid Finder

Matthew Rossi

I'll admit it: The Raid Finder feature has been a lot more successful than I expected it would be, and for the most part, it works not only better than I had thought but better than I could have ever hoped. I've run multiple alts through both halves of the Dragon Soul via Raid Finder, and while it's easy to tell that the fights have been reduced in complexity from the raid, they do still require some coordination and execution to get through -- enough to make a full PUG of the Raid Finder a hair above just showing up and getting loot, which is nice.

The Raid Finder does the job of making complex raid content accessible for players who might otherwise never get to see these fights and it does it well. That being said, there have been some issues with loot, player behavior, and even the way the Raid Finder selects players in my runs that I wanted to address, aspects that could be improved or streamlined to give us all a better Raid Finder experience.

1. Need Plus system adjustments First off, while adding class restrictions to loot in the Dragon Soul Raid Finder was a good start, there still need to be some alterations to the way the Need Plus loot system works. Right now, the system works by role and gives its role bonus based purely on if you are tanking, DPSing or healing. So if you're an enhancement shaman and a caster DPS item drops, you can roll need on it and get the role bonus even though you're not a caster. The system needs to be modified so it's aware of spec in a meaningful way. If you signed up to melee or cast spells, then you shouldn't be rolling on gear intended for the opposite and winning it over people who came to do exactly that role.

2. Tweaks to duplicates items and lucky rollers Another way the loot system could improve is in how it handles duplicate items and lucky rollers. Right now, if two of an item (the bracers off of Morchok, say) drop and someone rolls need on both, he or she could win both. In fact, this has happened to me every single time I've killed Morchok. While I'm aware that random rolls are random, a modification of the role bonus may be in order here, so that if you roll on and win a piece of loot and an exact duplicate item has also dropped and you already rolled need on it, you don't get your full role bonus on the second item. For that matter, perhaps remove it entirely for the second roll (and only that roll). While this would penalize people trying to get two of something for offset or dual wielding, it would combat the phenomenon of one person winning all the gear.

3. Bonus decay for lucky rollers Speaking of that, there needs to be a system in place that adjusts things so that if one player has won a significant majority of the gear from a run, he or she starts to lose some role bonus. While the form this role bonus decay would take could vary, the idea of one person walking off with six to seven drops from one Raid Finder run while everyone else gets nothing seems harshly punishing, especially considering how everyone is now locked to being unable to roll on any further gear from the bosses they killed, even if they won nothing, until the next week.

4. Weekly boss lockouts review These are of course all loot-related concerns, as is the idea that the Raid Finder should allow you to roll on loot twice a week rather than only once per half of the Dragon Soul raid. In my opinion, limiting Raid Finder loot to a weekly lockout per boss defeats the purpose of making a more accessible raid. We don't restrict Dungeon Finder heroics to only granting loot once per day, even though normal heroics lock out on a daily basis. Just as random daily heroic instances allow us to roll repeatedly on gear, so should the Raid Finder, at least so long as it is also granting valor points.

5. Player persistence My final issue with the Raid Finder, and the one that annoys me more than all of the former combined (those are all minor in the grand scheme of things, since they involve loot, and loot rules can always be tweaked and changed), is that at present I'm seeing a lot of people immediately drop group after a wipe in the Raid Finder, even when it is clearly due to a momentary hiccough that will most likely be smoothed over in the next attempt. This can often lead to a cycle of dropping and joining that can delay another attempt, sometimes greatly so. Perhaps the penalty for dropping needs to be significant in length (an hour or more), since at present, I have no idea if there even is a penalty for dropping a Raid Finder group.

So now that I've listed my mercenary quibbles (and quibbles they are, for the most part), I ask you what you think would improve the Raid Finder. Backwards compatibility, allowing you to pug out older raids? Allowing larger groups of Real ID friends to queue together? Cross-faction Raid Finder? What would you like to see?

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

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