The LFD or Looking for Dungeon tool Blizzard implemented in Wrath of the Lich King is back in Cataclysm, this time there are limits of when players can enter heroics based on an internal gear check, which was used to some extent in WotLK for the ICC 5 man dungeons.
The thing is heroics are very difficult, even more so with a PUG. This has led to many players frustrated and angry after dealing with heroic PUGs.
Can the LFD be be improved to remove the stigma that all PUGs are failures in heroics? Or is LFD simply a new acronym meaning Looking for Disaster.
The idea behind the ilvl 329 check is to keep those who are under geared out of heroics. However there are flaws in this system, and Blizzard freely admits to them. One of the most glaring issues is that the system just looks at the best combination of gear on your toon, in your bag, and bank. This gear doesn’t need to be for your main spec. For example a Mage might have 2 class relevant trinkets of ilvl 280 and 290, but maybe they pick up 2 tanking trinkets that are each ilvl 333. The system will count the tank trinkets towards that ilvl 329 requirement to get into heroics.
Then you have the issue of people queuing as healers and tanks but aren’t really healers/tanks in the sense they have gear, then trying to kick others to re-queue for healers and tanks, just to make the queue go faster. Lets be honest DPS queues for heroics are usually up near 45 minutes, and people are finding ways to game the system.
Finally the less manipulative issue currently with LFD and heroics is that you run into people who may have hit the gear requirement but maybe that isn’t enough for them to be effective in the heroic. Maybe they don’t know their class as they would like to admit, or even know the encounters. Constantly standing in the bad, not using cool downs properly, stepping out of danger to bandage themselves, or know how to heal or tank properly can seriously impact the rest of the group. Even more so if the group is not out-gearing the dungeon. Lets face it currently, not many folks in the LFD queue are out-gearing heroics.
All of these scenarios create a very poor experience for players who up until this point have been spoiled by how easy Wrath heroics were. Even those who want more of a challenge, have been growing frustrated with the lack of success they are seeing using the LFD system.
Before the LFD system, when people were looking for players on their own server, server populations would basically police themselves. If you ran across some moron who couldn’t play, was a ninja, or general jackass you would ignore them or just not group with them. While this didn’t guarantee you were going to succeed, it put a lot more accountability on people.
Perhaps the LFD system needs some kind of rating system, similar to some forums where you can report people or rate people up and down. Then use these ratings to possibly help place people in groups, higher rated equals faster queue times. Perhaps work out a system to see how much avoidable damage someone actually avoids and rate them there. Set DPS benchmarks and have Blizzard use those to also assist in ranking people. Tanks may be a bit more complicated, maybe monitor threat, and ability to keep it.
Using a combination of Blizzard identifying in-game skill of players and letting the player base rank and rate people may help with improving the quality of players you group with. Obviously any system where you rate people needs to have a counter system in case people abuse it. Something is needed though, and its obvious as of late the current system is not working.
How else can this system work? What other ways can be implemented to save the LFD system and PUG heroics?