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Will Mists of Pandaria end dungeon queues?

Matthew Rossi

I have this habit of dealing with my insomnia by running heroic dungeons. Sometimes I tank (especially if the bribe for doing so is enacted), and sometimes I DPS. Either way, I have a reasonably solid set of gear for both, full of heroic DS gear. Lately I've noticed a strange trend: People constantly ask me why I'm there, inform me that my gear is too good for the dungeon, and otherwise give me a hard time.

Now, perhaps it's because I don't restrict myself to Hour of Twilight dungeons. This is because I don't need the gear from heroics, and so I might as well get to see dungeons I haven't gotten to see for a while. Now, if the confusion was just happening when I was DPSing, I'd be less baffled. I mean, if you're tanking your way through normal heroics to try and get geared enough for HoT dungeons and eventually the Raid Finder, sure, I could see being somewhat nervous of the dude in 410 gear who just dropped in. Really, I could get that.

What possible reason do people have to freak out when a tank in 410 gear shows up? Do you honestly think I'm running Lost City of the Tol'vir to take your gear? Is that actually happening?

Fomenting confusion

I've asked people on a few occasions why they get so upset to see me, but the usual result is defensiveness or even immediate group dropping, so I'm forced to ask you guys what's going on here that I don't understand. Take the example of the group in the heroic Blackrock Caverns run I did the other night. The bag was lit up, so I signed up to tank, got in the group, and started pulling up to the first boss.

About halfway through, one of the group (a retribution paladin) started yelling at me for tanking in DPS gear (I wasn't) and making the healer's job harder (I was barely taking damage), which led the healer to yell at him to shut up, and suddenly a massive argument about my gear broke out that I wasn't even participating in. The paladin dropped group, a mage appeared to take his place, and after we killed the first boss, the mage started constantly asking me why I was there.

And no answer satisfied her or him. It was like tanking during a police interrogation. No matter what I said, this mage was convinced I had some kind of ulterior motive. What I really didn't get -- and finally just out and asked -- was why it mattered. I couldn't roll need on any gear the mage would want even if I were there for some twisted desire to steal gear for transmog or something (with the paladin gone, I was the only plate-wearer there), and while I was the top DPSer on the run, I wasn't the one making an issue out of it.

Has the raider abandoned dungeoneering?

If this were an isolated instance, I wouldn't be so confused. But it happens frequently, and it has me wondering. Has Blizzard's point cap system really done the job of driving highly geared players out of the dungeons? Back in Wrath of the Lich King, one of the reasons for high queues often given was that everyone was running heroics for points, raiders and non-raiders alike. But now, with the Raid Finder and normal/heroic raiding as ways to get valor points, you could easily cap out without ever touching a 5-man dungeon at all.

I've noticed that I rarely get one of those infamous 40-minute queues as DPS nowadays, waiting on an average 10 to 15 minutes. Did this happen because there's no reason for raiders to run dungeons? Has the sight of a raid-geared player in a heroic become so rare that when I show up it's like seeing a sasquatch out on a nature trail? (I use this metaphor because strangers often throw nets over me and talk into cameras about wood apes when I go out on nature trails.)

Will daily quests kill dungeon queues?

I'll be honest: I hate the valor point cap. But I'm forced to wonder if I'm failing to credit it for the reduction of queue times and the streamlining of the dungeon experience, which leads me to wonder if the advent of daily valor point quests in Mists of Pandaria is going to further thin out the number of people trying to run dungeons. I expect there to be a bit of a bottleneck as we're leveling up. I intend to level prot primarily through dungeons if at all possible, since I want to see if I can save world questing for as late in the day as possible and do it all in a great, gorging rush of questing.

But perhaps the real brilliance of the diversification of content in Mists is in how it will spread out how we approach content and reduce queues until DPSers no longer needs to wait and the bribe for tanking or healing is completely eliminated.

We'll have to wait and see, of course. But the shock people express at the sight of an overgeared player in current heroics makes me wonder if the trend is swinging toward an end to queues, since people will have so many ways to advance their characters in Mists.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

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