Fixing LFD

“Fixing” LFD, once again the discussion arises over how to fix LFD and more specifically the behaviour of players using the feature.

What are the problems?

  • “Bad” players
    Refusal to cc, tanks charging in, healers bouncing around spamming their insta-casts and not focusing on keeping players up, damage classes pushing 500 dps at level 85
  • “Bad” players
    Elitist morons demanding that anyone in LFD is in full 359 epics as a minimum and kicking all players not meeting this standard
  • “Bad” players
    Morons gaming the iLevel limit to hit heroics wearing 318 gear by stacking their bags with gear obtained from the AH.
  • “Bad” players
    People who cannot move from the fire, dodge adds, nuke adds, generally refuse to react to the encounter

Or put more simply the problem with LFD is players.

So, the requirement is for the LFD system to have mechanics and systems bolted on top which can regulate in a technical manner meatspace behaviour.  This is going to fail, it’s going to fail in spectactular fashion.

This isn’t the first time I’ve come across attempts to resolve meatspace issues with technical solutions, the most widely known is email spam filtering.  All the technical attacks are based around trying to identify sources and block based on content, those who’ve known me for a while will be more than familiar with my “consent not content” ranting about the filtering attempts.  One person’s spam is anothers requested communication.  Filtering on the content alone at a central level is simply broken and prone to false positives.

Anyway coming back to our problems in LFD, which are simply put down to the dynamics of the group of five living and breathing human beings, scattered potentially across the region their realm services, they might all speak different native languages.  Though certainly in the EU if a player is on a language specific realm I believe they’ll be matched with other players from the same language group and potentially with different expectations of the run.

Some of the expectations we typically find are :-

  • I’m just here for my valour points, all optional bosses skipped, all trash skipped even if it causes a wipe.
  • I’m here for the lols / drunk / stoned, AoE 4 teh LoLz!
  • Rep grind, let’s kill everything in sight
  • I’m here for a single item, if it doesn’t drop or I loose I’m outta this place lusers!
  • First time in here, let’s get all the bosses
  • Carry me!
  • A bit clueless but willing to keep trying.

and so on, we’ve all encountered at least one, if not all of those stereotypes and if we’re honest we’ve almost certainly been at least one of them at some point.

The WoW blogs are discussing what can be done to make LFD work better, looking at reputation systems, we’ve seen how easily these are twisted into a perversion of their original intent because the definition of “a good player” is so wide.  It means one, some or all of the following – “overgeared”, “full epics”, “target switching”, “chainpulling”, “no mana breaks”, “effective cc” and so on.  Adding the ability to cross-server friend players, to have a system by which those who run well together will tend to re-group.  Scoring players based on their ability to play, again this is massively subjective and what works with one tank will annoy another .. and thus the whole mess builds up again.

The vote to kick system requires some work, I see no reason why the reason for the kick cannot be reported to the person being kicked.  Where the reason is valid it gives feedback, and where it’s simply abusive then it’s reportable and to be honest it allows the person being kicked to update their ignore filter.

Can LFD be “fixed”?

I don’t believe so, because the mechanics are not broken, the people using it are.  In any group there will always be aggressive morons on both sides of the fence, the Internet Dickwad Theory remains the controlling factor and will remain so.  Adding in something based off cross-realm friending (allowing two players who have mutually friended to increase their chances of running together again) might help but I believe that any attempt to build in a reputation system will rapidly collapse under the weight of players gaming the system.

The only true solution is to have a core group of players within your own realm which allows the bulk of a 5-man group to be formed before looking at LFD to fill a gap or two.

 

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